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Annapolis, March 7, 2014 – Leaders of Maryland businesses and business organizations applaud the House of Delegates for passing a minimum wage raise and encourage the Senate to follow suit. “Raising Maryland’s minimum wage makes good business sense,” more than 175 Maryland businesses and business organizations say in the Maryland Business for a Fair Minimum Wage statement. “Workers are also customers. Minimum wage increases boost sales at local businesses as workers buy needed goods and services they could not afford before. And nothing drives job creation more than consumer demand. Businesses also see cost savings from lower employee turnover and benefit from increased productivity, product quality and customer satisfaction. Increasing the minimum wage will keep more dollars circulating in our local economy and reduce the strain on our social safety net caused by inadequate wages.”
“We applaud the House passing a fairer minimum wage and look to the Senate to act soon to give Maryland a much needed raise,” said Stephen Shaff, founding executive director of the Chesapeake Sustainable Business Council and a leader in Maryland Business for a Fair Minimum Wage. “However, without a provision for future increases to keep up with the rising cost of living, the new minimum wage will again lose value over time, undermining consumer demand. We are prepared to come back and advocate to correct for this omission.”
Below are some comments from Maryland Business for a Fair Minimum Wage members on why they support an increase. These and other business people are available for interview.
Gina Schaefer, owner of A Few Cool Hardware Stores, a group of nine Ace Hardware stores in Maryland and Washington DC said, “Gradually raising the minimum wage to $10.10 makes good business sense. Paying fair wages helped our business grow fast to nine stores and nearly 200 employees. Our employees know we value them, and we know they value our customers. A higher minimum wage would mean more money circulating in our local economy, boosting consumer demand and our local tax base.”
Amanda Rothschild, co-owner of Charmington's cafe in Baltimore City, said, “Our business is thriving, seeing about 25 percent revenue growth each year, and we believe it is largely due to the above-minimum wages and benefits we offer our 15 employees. We see much lower turnover, better employee performance and satisfied customers. The more responsibly I invest in my employees, the greater return I get from them. An increased minimum wage will help business and our economy.”
“If my small nursery in rural Harford County can profit and grow when paying a starting wage of $10, there’s no reason any viable business cannot do that,” said John Shepley co-owner of Emory Knoll Farms. “Paying a decent starting wage gives us big ripple effects in improved efficiency, customer service and quality. Minimum wage workers typically need to spend 100 percent of their take-home pay. When the minimum wage goes up it boosts the customer demand that businesses need to grow and hire.”
As approved by the House, the bill would raise the minimum wage to $8.20 an hour on Jan. 1, 2015, $9.15 an hour on Jan. 1, 2016, and $10.10 an hour on Jan. 1, 2017.
NOTE: The business owners quoted here and others from across the state are available for comment.
Business for a Fair Minimum Wage is a network of business owners and executives who believe a fair minimum wage makes good business sense. Business owners and leaders of business organizations from across Maryland have signed the Maryland Business For a Fair Minimum Wage Statement, and more are signing every day. www.businessforafairminimumwage.org.