Montgomery County, Maryland, Executive Ike Leggett vetoed a bill that would have increased the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2020.
The County Council passed the bill on Jan. 17 by a 5-4 vote. The current minimum wage is $10.75 per hour, and the bill would have incrementally increased the wage to $11.50 in July of 2017, $12.50 per hour in 2018, $13.75 per hour in 2019 and $15 per hour in 2020.
In a memo to the council, Leggett reiterated his support of a pay increase over an appropriate timeframe and under certain conditions. However, he said this bill went too far and too fast, and he hoped a modified bill could be worked out that had broader support in the council.
He said he was concerned about the competitive disadvantage the bill would create on businesses in the county, saying residents would “essentially shoulder the bulk of the cost.”
Leggett wants a study to be done on the fiscal and economic impact on the county that would be created by the minimum wage increase. He wants the study to be done by July.
He also wants any wage increase timeframe to be stretch out for an additional two years to 2022. He said small businesses should be entirely exempt from any minimum wage requirement.
The county executive laid out four conditions in a new bill he said would be necessary for him to sign the wage increase.
- Be based on an expeditious study on the direct and indirect financial impacts on private employers, non-profits and County government
- Include an exemption for small business, the definition of which can be informed by the study
- Include an exemption for youth workers
- Provide for reaching $15/hour in 2022
He acknowledged the broad support in the community and on the council for an increase. He said a revised bill meeting his requirements would be better for Montgomery County residents and businesses.