Ben Jealous, Maryland’s Democratic gubernatorial nominee, has made a $15 minimum wage a central part of his economic platform—what will this mean for the election in November?
According to a Goucher College poll conducted in September, Marylanders largely approve of how Gov. Larry Hogan—who is wary of a $15 minimum wage—has managed the state (63 percent approve, and 17 percent disapprove) as well as think the state is headed in the right direction and that they’re doing better financially now than in the past. NFIB/MD members approve as well: The NFIB Maryland Political Action Committee recently announced its endorsement for Gov. Hogan’s re-election. However, 71 percent of state residents also support a $15 minimum wage. And a majority of voters (54 percent) support Jealous’ Medicare-for-all healthcare proposal.
It’s unclear yet how this will impact voters when they choose between Hogan and Jealous on Nov. 6, but Maryland small business owners are hoping voters take into consideration how yet another wage increase could impact small employers and the state economy as a result. For example, according to NFIB research cited by The Baltimore Sun Editorial Board, a $15 minimum wage could result in a loss of almost 100,000 jobs in the state over the next decade.
Under Jealous’ plan, Maryland would move to a $15 minimum wage by 2023, which isn’t that far off, especially after the latest base wage hike was implemented just months ago. NFIB/MD State Director Mike O’Halloran spoke to Anne Kramer at WBAL News Radio 1090 about members’ reaction to this: “The idea of a $15 minimum wage coming on the heels of the final increase to $10.10 this past July is just beyond the pale for them. We need to take a deep breath before even considering a $15 minimum wage.”