Montgomery County Council member Marc Elrich (D-At Large) said Thursday he will propose legislation to increase to raise the county’s minimum wage to $12 per hour.
Right now applicable employers must pay the federal minimum of $7.25. Elrich said his bill would apply to all county businesses.
“Persistent poverty is the reflection of the persistence of low wages in our economy,” Elrich said in a statement. “We have tens of thousands of working people who, despite getting up and going to work every day, do not earn wages that are sufficient to lift them out of poverty. The wages that these people earn are below the level of income needed to be self-sufficient. As a result, working people are forced, at best, to rely on the government to provide programs to support their housing, medical and food needs. At worst, people simply do without adequate housing, health care and nutrition.
“To be blunt, the low wages paid by some employers have created a class of citizens who are dependent on government services to make ends meet and those same employers have effectively shifted a portion of what should be their labor costs onto taxpayers—both individual taxpayers as well as the majority of private sector companies who pay a living wage or higher.”
Elrich, who said he will introduce the measure when the council returns from summer break Sept. 10, did not mention any co-sponsors in his statement.
The D.C. Council voted in July to require some larger retailers to pay workers no less than $12.50 an hour, a 50 percent premium over the city’s $8.25 minimum wage. The bill is due to reach Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s desk Friday. Gray has yet to say whether he will sign or veto the measure.