Baltimore Says We’re Closed for Business By Passing $15 Minimum Wage
Despite lesson after lesson, the futile fight for $15 continues on. Baltimore City Council took a vote this week to raise the city’s minimum wage to the Sen. Bernie Sanders style $15 an hour. The measure is currently awaiting approval by Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh.
The wage increase wouldn’t hit immediately.Currently the state minimum wage sits at $8.75 and would gradually increase to $15 by 2022 for the city of Baltimore. Small businesses with less than 50 employees would be hit by this new burden in 2026.
During the debate, a host of Baltimore companies signaled the wage increase would drive their business elsewhere. Given how the wage increase hits just the city, business have a plethora of nearby suburbs to escape a sweeping significant increase in their labor costs. Baltimore has its fair share of issues already–running business out of the city will not help.
The already high cost of doing business in this overregulated city has likely perpetuated
the decades-long trend of population loss. Due to city employees wages rising, Baltimore will pick up a $115 million tab to cover the expense despite their already strained budget. A third of the city’s residents live in poverty, have no college education, and need the low-skill jobs likely to be driven to the suburbs by the minimum wage hike.
At what point will minimum wage warriors realize their push to artificially raise wages comes at the expense of job creation and wage growth for those who need it? What will it take to illustrate that while price floors make for attractive progressive campaign promises, they fail to grow the economy and lift low-income Americans out of poverty?