Baltimore Sun: Andrew Buerger: I am a businessman in favor of a $15 minimum wage

By Andrew Buerger
Baltimore Sun, Letter to the Editor, March 12, 2019

As a business owner, I’m looking forward to Maryland lawmakers improving our economic climate by raising the minimum wage to $15 (“Maryland House of Delegates approves bill to raise state's hourly minimum wage to $15 by 2025,” Mar. 1). It will be a win-win-win for workers, businesses and customers.

When you invest in your employees, they invest more in your customers. Happy customers lead to a healthier bottom line. Since our founding in 2010, this approach has helped us grow our product distribution from great local grocery stores to nearly 3,000 stores around the country.

Low minimum wages aren’t good for business. Low-wage businesses are typically high-turnover businesses. High turnover diverts time and money into continually replacing and training new workers instead of improving and growing the business. It alienates employees and customers.

Raising the minimum wage to $15 will be good for the economy. Maryland workers need $15 an hour just to afford basics like food, housing and transportation, according to the MIT Living Wage calculator. Governor Larry Hogan’s new proposed raise to $12.10 by 2022 falls short (“Gov. Hogan proposes raising Maryland's minimum wage to $12.10, instead of $15,” Mar. 8).

Workers who aren’t paid enough to make ends meet don’t have much to spend at local businesses. Raising the minimum wage increases the consumer buying power that businesses and communities depend on to thrive.

Raising the minimum wage in predictable steps to $15 by 2025, the timetable passed by the House, would give businesses more than enough time to adjust and also experience benefits such as increased consumer spending.

Raising the minimum wage to $15 will show we value workers, whether they work for a large business or a small business like mine. It’s an investment in people working to pay for college and working to support their family. It’s an investment in our workforce and in our customer base.

Andrew Buerger, Baltimore

The writer is the co-founder of B’More Organic in Baltimore and a member of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage.

Copyright 2019 Andrew Buerger

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