An effort to raise the minimum wage to ten dollars an hour in Maryland by 2015 is raising some eyebrows among local business leaders.
The Restaurant Association of Maryland is concerned about it…So are some mom and pop stores.
At Z Pizza in Silver Spring, even the cooks don't make ten dollars an hour now. Manager Deandre Eley says a boost in the minimum wage would be a positive thing for a lot of people who work here.
"You can't really live on 7 dollars an hour. You're living paycheck to paycheck, so it would bring them up," Eley says.
But he also thinks a hike in the minimum wage could end up costing jobs because of the increased labor costs.
"I'm against it because a lot of restaurants won't be able to make that labor. By boosting it to ten dollars an hour, that's a lot of paychecks you'll have to cut", Eley says.
State Senator Robert Garagiola of Germantown and Delegate Aisha Braveboy of Mitchellville say they'll introduce legislation this week to increase the minimum wage from $7.25 now, to $8.25 in July, then to $9 in July of 2014, to $10 in July of 2015.
"I make minimum wage now, and after taxes get taken out, there's not a lot left," Tori Sowell says.
She was out job hunting with a friend so they can start saving for college spending money this fall.
"I think it would be incredibly helpful," Emma Luyre says. "I wouldn't need to have two jobs. I could just concentrate on my work in high school, and still have money left to go out."
Studies have shown that previous hikes have resulted in more than 7,000 fewer jobs for Maryland teenagers between 2005 and 2011.
But sponsors of the bill call it an anti-poverty plan to give middle class families more money, which they can pump into the economy.
It has the support of a new campaign called Raise Maryland made up of 20 unions, Immigrant groups, and others who say too many Maryland families are having trouble making ends meet on $7.25 an hour.
"I'm for it as long as that doesn't make everything else go up, like food and rent, because then it doesn't help the people it's supposed to because it ends up skewing everything else," Ashley Clingman-Jackson says.
Six other states besides Maryland are considering minimum wage hikes of their own this year too.
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