Leggett: Let’s raise county’s minimum wage

November 13, 2013

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett said Wednesday that he supports legislation to raise the county’s minimum wage, concluding that there is no guarantee the Maryland General Assembly will take action “this year or in the foreseeable future.”

Leggett (D) originally said he was inclined to see whether the legislature would take action before considering unilateral action by the county. Last year, he supported an unsuccessful effort to lift the wage from the federal $7.25 an hour to $10.

But Leggett said he is now prepared for the County Council to act on its own and to sign into law a bill sponsored by council member Marc Elrich (D-At Large) that would raise the wage to $11.50 over a three-year period.

In a letter to council member Roger Berliner (D-Potomac-Bethesda), Leggett said that he is “open to discussing” the precise level of the raise and the appropriate phase-in but that he wanted to act now.

His announcement is significant because he becomes the first head of the three local governments with minimum wage legislation pending — the District and Prince George’s County are the others — to offer explicit support.

Bill Turque, who covers Montgomery County government and politics, has spent more than thirty years as a reporter and editor for The Washington Post, Newsweek, the Dallas Times Herald and The Kansas City Star.
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