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Maryland's Debate Over Minimum Wage Could Complicate Plans In D.C. Suburbs

When the Maryland General Assembly convenes next year, it's near certain that its members will take up a bill to raise the minimum wage in the state to $10 per hour. That may make some people cheer, but it's below what's being sought in some of the state's D.C. suburbs.

Several state lawmakers, including House Speaker Mike Busch, say it's best for the General Assembly to deal with any possible minimum wage hike, since it would make the pay rate uniform throughout Maryland.

Opponents of raising the minimum wage to $11.50 in Montgomery County sounded similar concerns at a public hearing on Thursday, saying it could lead businesses moving to Frederick and Carroll Counties where the rate would be lower.

But County Councilman Marc Elrich, sponsor of the bill raising the minimum wage, says cost of living rates are different throughout the state.

"I actually think different wage levels by areas of the state is actually a good idea. I support that $10 state movement, but that wage in western Maryland makes sense if you look at the housing costs there. It might make sense in Wicomico County if you look at housing costs there," he says.

A vote on the Montgomery County bill is still a ways off, as a Council committee must first issue recommendations on it, which it could do at a meeting right before Thanksgiving.

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