Progressive Maryland Faults Leggett’s Minimum Wage Study

The minimum wage study released Tuesday evening drew criticism Thursday morning from Progressive Maryland, calling on the Montgomery County Council to disregard the study.

“Instead of engaging economists or policy experts, County Executive [Ike] Leggett hired a consulting firm that helps public employers cut costs to tell us all that the sky will fall if Montgomery County gradually raises pay for working people,” said Justin Vest, lead organizer for Progressive Maryland, in a statement released to the press.

Progressive Maryland is a nonprofit that according to its website promotes “social, economic, and racial justice.”

The study, prepared by PFM Group Consulting of Philadelphia, found that increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour would mean that by 2022 more than 45,000 jobs lost, more than $396.5 million in income and nearly $41 million in lost tax revenue.

Montgomery County’s minimum wage rose to $11.50 an hour on July 1.

In contrast to the dollars lost, the report also noted positive effects of a minimum wage hike, which included improved mental health, reduced hunger and decreased stress for workers and their families.

In January, the council voted 5-4 to take the minimum wage to the $15 level, but Leggett vetoed the legislation.

“PFM’s report comes to the baffling conclusion that a modest $3.50 hourly increase over five years will result in the loss of 47,000 jobs—a full 8 percent of the estimated low-wage workforce in 2022,” Vest said. These findings are at odds with more than 40 years of credible research on the minimum wage showing that raising the wage floor is a good policy with broad benefits and little to no impact on employment, the statement said.

“The Montgomery County Council should ignore this fatally flawed study and raise the wage floor to $15 for all workers in the County, without exempting young or tipped workers or expanding carve-outs for small businesses,” the statement says.

“The costs of living in the County, which rival those of New York City and Seattle, make it imperative that the Council approves a $15 minimum wage. The benefits of this policy will not be limited to boosting pay for struggling workers. Local businesses and the County as a whole will also gain from an increase in consumer spending and a more dynamic economy, which will result from a $15 minimum wage.”


UPDATE: Minimum Wage Report Would Mean 45,000 Jobs Lost by 2022 (VIDEO)


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Douglas Tallman

About Douglas Tallman

Reporter with 35 years experience throughout Maryland. Reach me at or via Twitter at @MCM-Doug


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