ANNAPOLIS, MD - A Maryland lawmaker has begun pushing for a bill to increase the state's minimum wage.
"We need to do something as gas prices go up, as electricity prices go up, as rent or home mortgage bills go up, we need to make sure that people are able to earn a living. The minimum wage is the base floor for income for hundreds of thousands of Marylanders," says Sen. Rob Garagiola, (D) - District 15.
Garagiola plans to introduce a three-part bill.
The first part would increase the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10 an hour by 2015.
The bill would also raise tipped minimum worker wages, such as waiters and waitresses, from 50 to 70 percent.
"It's an economic development bill because as we put money into the hands of workers, they're going to be spending that money in the economy," Garagiola says. "Some studies show that as much as a half a billion dollars of spending will occur in the State of Maryland with a minimum wage increase."
The bill would index the minimum wage to keep up with inflation.
"It's a anti-poverty bill, it's an economic development bill, and it's a middle-class working families bill," Garagiola says. "It's a poverty bill because it'll help lift the wages of working-class families and individuals so they rely less on government social programs like welfare and food stamps."
Maryland's minimum wage hasn't been increased since 2007.