In what was anything but a surprising announcement in Howard County after “Howard County legislation that would raise the minimum wage to $16 per hour in the future fails to move forward on October 4th“; Councilmembers Jones and Rigby Advance Minimum Wage Legislation in Howard County. Here is the wording from press release:
On October 6, Howard County Councilmembers Opel Jones and Christiana Rigby pre-filed legislation that would improve the local minimum wage in Howard County, Maryland. Their legislation (CB82-2021) would gradually raise Howard County’s minimum wage from its current rate of $11.75 per hour to $16 per hour over the next several years.
In 2019, the Maryland General Assembly passed legislation to raise the statewide minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025. While this measure was an important step toward raising pay for working families in Maryland, it does not adequately address the rising costs that families are facing for basic needs such as housing, childcare, utilities, groceries, and other expenses in Howard County. The Howard County legislation proposed by Councilmembers Jones and Rigby would strengthen the local minimum wage beyond state requirements by (1) increasing the minimum wage, (2) accelerating the timeline for implementation, and (3) implementing an annual wage adjustment to account for inflation.
Raising the minimum wage is a key recommendation presented in the Howard County Racial Equity Task Force Final Report, which was completed on August 2, 2021. In that report, the Economic and Workforce Development Subgroup noted that “the cost of living in Howard County does not allow an individual working full-time making less than $33,636 to survive in an equitable way.” The Task Force ultimately recommended that the Howard County Council work to raise the minimum wage for both county government staff and all Howard County employees.
According to the Maryland Center for Economic Policy, increasing the local minimum wage in Howard County would benefit roughly one in four employees who work in Howard County, which equates to nearly 40,000 people. Those employees would see their earnings increase in a meaningful way, allowing working families to save for homeownership, retirement, and education, as well as put money right back into the local economy.
“As a sponsor of the creation of the Racial Equity Task Force, I’m proud to support an increase to the minimum wage for all Howard County employees,” said Councilmember Jones. “Strengthening the living wage provides prosperity and economic growth for Howard County.”
“Today in Howard County, one in four families struggles to put food on the table, and over 13,000 households are severely burdened by the cost of housing,” said Councilwoman Christiana Rigby. “A living wage will put more money into the pockets of working families in Howard County who need it most. It’s good for our community, it’s good for our economy, and it’s simply the right thing to do.”
The proposed legislation was pre-filed on October 6, 2021 and will be introduced at the Council Legislative Session on November 1, 2021. Public testimony will be accepted at a public hearing on Monday, November 15, 2021. The legislation will be up for a vote at the Council Legislative Session on Monday, December 6, 2021. Once the legislation is introduced, Howard County residents can sign up to provide testimony either virtually or in-person by visiting this website.
To read the legislation, please visit this website: CB82-2021.
There are a few differences between CB81 and CB-82 that I found in my quick review.
- Dates for implementation in 2022 start a little later:
My chart still works (just keep in mind in 2022 it is now April and not January):
2. There is also a new section:
That was my quick review between CB81 and CB82.
I reached out to the Howard County Chamber of Commerce for a statement (after CB-81 was introduced and failed) and they responded that they had not read the legislation at that time. I will be sure to reach out to them again.
I may talk with some small businesses owners or/and reach out to other organizations for comments (like the Columbia Association) to understand what impact this will have and how it may affect future hiring practices or prices to local consumers for products and services.
I fully expect this legislation to pass in December and be implemented starting in 2022. I would also not be surprised to hear this as a campaign issue in the upcoming election cycle for 2022.