Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich said he will testify Thursday in Annapolis on a statewide minimum wage bill, as the county’s own minimum wage rate is steadily increasing.
“It is critical for people to be able to put a roof over your heads,” Elrich said during a media briefing Wednesday.
On Monday, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore testified in support of the Fair Wage Act of 2023, which would accelerate an increase in the statewide minimum wage to $15 an hour on Oct. 1 of this year. It also indexes future rates for inflation up to 5% starting July 1, 2025.
Montgomery County already reached a $15 minimum wage for large employers in 2021. On July 1, the minimum wage in Montgomery County is set to increase to $16.70 an hour for large employers, per a release. Mid-sized employers will reach the $15 mark this July and the minimum wage for small employers will be $14.50.
The General Assembly bill would raise everybody to $15.
The county’s legislation has inflation adjustments built in, Elrich said.
“And so we will continue to be raising wages according to inflation,” he said. As a former councilmember, Elrich was lead sponsor of the 2017 bill that raises the minimum wage incrementally every year on July 1.
He said $15 an hour is a little over $30,000 annually, and if 30% of that income were to go to housing, a single person would have around $750 to spend per month on housing.
“I can only say, good luck finding an apartment in Montgomery County at $750 a month,” Elrich said.
He said $15 is a great start and thanked Moore for prioritizing the legislation.