Maryland Business Leaders Support $15 Minimum Wage Bill Before Senate

CONTACT: Erin Musgrave at [email protected] or 530-864-7014

Annapolis, March 15, 2017 — Maryland business leaders submitted testimony supporting legislation the Senate Finance Committee is considering today, which would raise the state’s minimum wage to $15.

The proposed legislation, SB 962, would gradually increase the state’s minimum wage to $15 by 2022 for businesses with 26 or more employees, and to $15 by 2023 for businesses with 25 or fewer employees.

Business owners and executives supporting the increase believe raising the minimum wage makes smart business sense. Raising the wage floor will boost businesses, communities and the economy as workers have more money to spend. And businesses will benefit from lower employee turnover, increased productivity and customer satisfaction. Business for a Fair Minimum Wage members who submitted testimony commented:

Scott Nash, Founder and CEO of MOM’s Organic Market in Bowie, College Park, Frederick, Hampden, Jessup, Rockville, Timonium, Waldorf and White Marsh: “Good businesspeople know that their most important asset is their employees. A higher minimum wage is a high-return strategic investment. Our workforce is less stressed and more productive and engaged, and our retention rates have soared over the years – driving down training and hiring costs. Longer-term employees also offer more expertise and better customer service, which helps increase revenues. Customers love shopping at places with engaged employees.”

Andy Shallal, Owner of Busboys and Poets Restaurant in Hyattsville: “Raising Maryland's minimum wage to $15 will provide a more livable wage for workers and create a windfall for businesses that will benefit directly from the added money circulating in the community—the proverbial rising tide lifting all boats. Combined with incrementally phasing out the tip credit, raising the wage floor represents a better, more sustainable way to do business and grow the economy for everyone.”

Alissa Barron-Menza, Vice President of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage and Silver Spring resident: “We supported Maryland’s last minimum wage increase and we think a more robust increase makes good business sense now. The gradual phase-in will give low-paying businesses time to adjust and experience the benefits of a higher wage floor such as increased consumer spending, cost savings from lower employee turnover, increased productivity and more satisfied customers. Raising the minimum wage is good for business and good for Maryland’s economy.”

Brian England, Co-Owner and President of British American Auto Care in Columbia, whose awards include Maryland Small Business of the Year: “When some businesses pay so little their employees can’t make a living, it hurts everyone. I see people having to choose between replacing bald tires and putting in a new battery, for example. It’s bad for workers and businesses that people working full-time need to make choices like that. Employers who pay a higher wage will find that employees work harder, stay with you longer and develop a rapport with customers, which is very good for business. It makes more sense to have a higher minimum wage and lower turnover than a low wage with high turnover, and all the expenses associated with it.”

Josh Keogh, Co-Owner of Baltimore Bicycle Works: “Raising Maryland’s minimum wage would mean many of our customers—and future customers—will have more income to spend on bikes and repairs. And the gradual phase-in would allow businesses plenty of time to ramp up to that $15 an hour. Having a stronger wage floor is a vital component of a healthier business climate.”

Andrew Buerger, Owner of B’More Organic in Baltimore: “Low-paying businesses are being shortsighted. They may save money on the wages end, but they alienate customers and lose money with high employee turnover, which diverts time and money into continually replacing and training new workers. When people are paid fairly, it reduces turnover and improves workforce morale, productivity and customer satisfaction. And happy customers lead to a healthier bottom line.”

Bryan McGannon, Policy Director of the American Sustainable Business Council and Brunswick resident: “Consumer spending is the mainstay of our economy and broad-based wage growth is vital for growing consumer demand. As polling commissioned by our organization and others have shown, weak consumer demand is a top concern of small businesses. Increasing the minimum wage is a very efficient way to boost consumer demand – and, in turn, businesses and the economy – by putting additional dollars into the hands of low-income Marylanders, the very people most likely to spend those dollars on needed products and services.”

Business leaders are available for comment and/or broadcast bookings. To schedule an interview, contact Erin Musgrave at [email protected] or (530) 864-7014.

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Business for a Fair Minimum Wage is a national network of business owners and executives and business organizations that believe a fair minimum wage makes good business sense.

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