Mayor vetoes to minimum wage bill proposed by city council

Posted at 3:18 PM, Mar 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-24 23:23:15-04

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh announced she would veto a bill that would set the city's minimum wage at $15 an hour.

It wasn't well received at Baltimore Bicycle Works, where co-owner Josh Keogh said employees already make above the current state minimum wage. Keogh believes an increased wage would lead to increased profits as more people have money to spend.

"People don't have enough money to sustain themselves, and that's a crisis in the city," Keogh said.

The state minimum wage will raise to $9.25 in July before reaching $10.10 in 2018. 

Keogh's view was different from the city's mayor, who's argument was increasing city wages past the statewide increase could cause employers to move businesses to surrounding counties.

"What we're saying is that the other jurisdictions around us are waiting for the state and we will do the same," Pugh said.

"It's important as the Chief Executive Officer in this city that I take into consideration all the needs of all the people of Baltimore."

Pugh's argument was supported by business leaders through the Greater Baltimore Committee.

"The minimum wage was not intended to be a family sustaining wage or supporting wage," President and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee.

Not so, said the Fight For $15 Baltimore Coalition, adding that candidate Pugh supported a $15 minimum.

"It makes us question where the mayor really is," said Ricarra Jones. "This week she stood with billionaires to open a hotel that many residents in this city can't even afford to spend one night in." 

The bills sponsor, Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke called the veto "a shame."

"We invested for hotels and restaurants and infrastructure so that people could have jobs when manufacturing left, people got those jobs and found out they don't pay enough to support themselves," said Clarke.

If there is to be a vote on a veto override, it would need to be organized quickly as council members have until the end of April to decide if they have the 12 votes needed to make the bill law.

RELATED: $15 minimum wage bill passes City Council vote

The Baltimore City Council passed the minimum wage bill Monday by a 12-3 vote.

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