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D.C., Maryland Lawmakers To Try And Raise Minimum Wage In Unison

Lawmakers in the District, Montgomery County and Prince George's County want to raise the minimum wage to $11.50.
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Lawmakers in the District, Montgomery County and Prince George's County want to raise the minimum wage to $11.50.

The council's in D.C., Montgomery County and Prince George's County will take up bills that would gradually raise the minimum wage in each area to $11.50.

Seeing the three jurisdictions trying in unison leads to the question of whether businesses may leave for Virginia, where only the state government can hike the minimum wage, something that it is unlikely to do.

D.C. Council Chair Phil Mendelson doesn't think so, believing many businesses that pay minimum wage are neighborhood-oriented. He used McDonald's as an example, saying it's unlikely that the fast food giant would move to Virginia to serve customers in D.C. or Maryland.

Mendelson also thinks actual geography would stop business movement.

"Even though we are all adjacent as jurisdictions, the Potomac River is more of a border than Western Avenue or Southern Avenue is," Mendelson says.

Montgomery County Councilman Marc Elrich was more defiant: "I'm not looking to bring in people to Montgomery County who pay $7.25 an hour."

Montgomery County may be the only place where the minimum wage hike could face some opposition on the council, as Elrich says at this point he doesn't know whether he has the necessary five votes to get it to pass.

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