Prince George's County has joined Montgomery County in passing a measure that will raise the county's minimum wage to $11.50 over the next four years.
The Montgomery County Council approved the bill 8-1 Tuesday night after hours of tense debate. County Executive Ike Leggett says he will sign the measure into law.
The action would raise the hourly rate far above the current state and federal minimum of $7.25. It increases the wage in steps:
- $8.40 in October 2014
- $9.55 in 2015
- $10.75 in 2016
- $11.50 in 2017
Neighboring Prince George's County unanimously passed a similar measure the next morning.
Prince George's minimum wage will gradually increase to $11.50 by 2017.
Other jurisdictions locally and around the country are considering similar changes.
"The regional piece is key because we live in an area that is very expensive," Montgomery Councilmember Valerie Ervin said.
Earlier this week, a D.C. Council committee unanimously approved a bill that would raise the city's minimum wage to $11.50 an hour, one of the nation's highest, by 2016.
The committee voted 6-0 Monday to send the bill to the full council, which could take the first of two votes as early as December.
"I think that everyone knows that living on $8.25 an hour, the current minimum wage is just impossible in this city," Elissa Silverman, who works for the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute told News4. The advocacy group is working to raise the minimum wage.
Mayor Vincent Gray said he supports a raise in minimum wage to $10 an hour, but is concerned that a larger increase would hurt the job market. He's planning to hire a consultant to study the issue.
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