Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) and Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D) on Tuesday embraced a plan to raise the state’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2016 and tie further increases to inflation.
The governor and his preferred successor appeared alongside union leaders, clergy and supportive business owners at rally outside the State House where they helped lead the crowd in chants of “Raise the wage!” and “10-10!”
Brown confirmed afterward that the administration plans to sponsor a bill in the 90-day legislative session that will mirror the plan being pushed by Raise Maryland, the group that organized the rally.
Besides raising the state’s minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10, the legislation would also increase the requirement for tipped workers to 70 percent of the hourly minimum.
O’Malley had said previously that raising the minimum wage will be his top priority during his eighth and final annual legislative session. But he not been explicit about the plan his administration would push.
During an appearance Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” O’Malley signaled his alignment with the Raise Maryland plan, saying: “I think we’re zeroing in on around a $10 an hour minimum wage in the state of Maryland.”
The issue has become a priority this election year for many leading Democrats, including two of Brown’s opponents in the June Democratic primary: Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler (D) and Del. Heather R. Mizeur (D-Montgomery).
Legislative leaders say there are still details to be worked out, including whether to allow individual jurisdictions to have a higher minimum wage than the state. Both Montgomery and Prince George’s counties recently passed plans to raise the minimum wage to $11.50 an hour by 2017.
O’Malley has said he is supportive of those efforts.