Minimum wage hike draws opponents, supporters

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By Becca Heller

A bill to raise Maryland’s minimum wage to $10 an hour drew 46 witnesses Thursday to a Senate hearing on the divisive issue.

Small business owners stood before the Finance Committee offering grave calculations and projecting labor loss, while professors and authors cited studies that showed the prospective hike in wage is a healthy economic initiative.

A WalMart associate, a teenage girl, and a disabled family testified to the desperate need for higher wages, while a grocery store owner expressed concern for the wage scales and the difficulties the law could pose to hiring disabled and less experienced workers in the future.

“If there’s one thing we know, you raise the price of something, you get less of it. You raise the price of labor, you’ll get less of it,” said Walt Clocker, the owner of Angel’s Food Market in Pasadena.

But supporters of the bill argue that the minimum wage hike would create an upturn in the economy by putting money into the pockets of consumers.

“Our members support raising minimum wage because it addresses one of the biggest problems that we see facing the economy and that’s weak demand,” said Bryan McGannon of the American Sustainable Business Council.

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