"I know this is regarded as somewhat of a hardship by many of the people before us today," said Clarke, "but we have not come to bury minimum wage here today I pray."
In a work session of the council's labor committee, Clarke held firm on the goal of $15 per hour, but she's backed off on getting there by the year 2020.
"I would add two years to get to 15 (dollars). I have an amendment to reduce what we called the tipped worker part of the legislation. We'll pick up what D.C. is doing. It's a moderate version that is does not ever get to $15. It stops at 5 (dollars)," said Clarke.
Clarke also would exempt YouthWorks and any city-sponsored youth job programs, as well as fulltime students and the disabled.
But citing the city's tight budget, City Council President Jack Young has proposed a more modest wage increase of his own mirroring those in Prince George's and Montgomery counties.
"It's just a lot going on. We have the police cameras that we're going to have to find funding for and we just can't do 15 (dollars),” said Young, “11.50 is a stretch, but I think it's a compromise."
Clarke opposes anything less than $15 per hour saying it would fall short of a living wage.
"Wish me luck,” said Clarke, “It's for the whole city and it's about putting us together as a self-sufficient community that doesn't need a hand out."
Clarke says her proposal would raise the wages of 80,000 people in Baltimore, but critics say it could hurt businesses and cost the city jobs if surrounding counties don't follow suit.