MARYLAND (DC News Now) — Jody Wildly is backing Gov. Wes Moore’s push for a $15 minimum wage that is tied to inflation even if it’s controversial.
In fact, Wildly, who lives in Prince George’s County, is in the planning stages of creating a restaurant-gallery-lounge business where she plans to pay her employees $17 per hour.
The topsy-turvy world of inflation, she said, has eaten away at people’s income, particularly those who struggle financially.
“Inflation is rising, and hopefully it will decrease — but even still, $15 dollars an hour, if we weren’t in a state of inflation, then that still, in my perspective, would not be enough,” Wildly said.
The Moore administration has been pushing to not only implement the $15 wage hike earlier than initially approved in the state legislature but also to tie it to inflation. This has caused rumbles of disagreement in the Democratic-controlled General Assembly.
Wildly said she thinks the reticence in the Assembly is wrong.
“I think that raising the minimum wage… is a good idea because if you really think about it, how many people in the Assembly live off of $12 an hour?” she said.
Moore has made raising the minimum wage this year rather than in the future a key to his legislative agenda. The legislature approved a minimum wage hike for 2025, but the newly elected governor promised to move that up on the campaign trail last year.
C.T. Wilson, the House Economic Matters chair, said there’s consensus on getting a minimum wage bill passed session. But there are concerns about tying it to inflation given concerns from business owners.
“By attaching it to the CPI and indexing it, that kind of takes it away from the responsibility that we were elected to do. And so that’s some of the consternation that I’ve heard from my colleagues,” Wilsons said.
Wilson said he is still undecided on the House bill but he is convinced that a deal can be struck to work with the governor on raising the wage faster.
“The job is not to make his bill fail,” he said. “The job is to work with out governor and the Senate to make sure we have something that is acceptable by the people.”
The governor is expected to testify Thursday in front of the Senate committee considering the issue. He testified earlier this week in front of the House committee.
Dawn Harkless of Howard County has struggled at times to make ends meet. Now she makes more than the minimum wage but so many others struggle like she once did.
“It does tie into inflation because as the prices of food go up, we have less and less money to do things with our children, to do things for our children,” she said. “Then they’ve got to pay child care, they need aftercare, they need gas.”
Wildly said loyalty is important and paying employees even more than the minimum wage is an investment in her business that will pay off in the end.
“Turnover is to me in actuality costs more money than hiring someone at a certain rate,” she said.