March 29 (UPI) — Maryland’s General Assembly voted Thursday to override Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of a bill to gradually raise the state’s minimum wage to $15.
The override passed by a vote of 96-43 in the House of Delegates and a vote of 32-15 vote in the Senate, surpassing the three-fifths vote needed to undo Hogan’s veto of the bill.
Under the legislation, companies with 15 or more employees must pay workers at least $15 an hour by 2025. The legislature agreed to allow companies with fewer than 15 employees until July 2026 to comply with the law.
The bill’s lead sponsor, state Sen. Cory McCray, said he bill will affect a half-million people in the state.
“When I think about the American dream I think about shared prosperity,” he said during a debate of the override vote. “When we lift the standards for one worker, we are lifting the standards for all workers.”
In issuing his veto of the bill, Hogan said it would “cost us jobs, negatively impact our economic competitiveness and devastate our state’s economy.”
The governor issued a proposal that would raise the state’s minimum wage from $10.10 to $12.10 by 2022, allowing for further increases only if the surrounding states reach a combined average of 80 percent of Maryland’s wage. The minimum wage is $7.25 in Virginia and Pennsylvania, and $8.75 in Delaware and West Virginia.
“We are obviously disappointed that the legislature completely ignored the governor’s reasonable compromise proposal to protect jobs and small businesses,” Hogan spokesman Michael Ricci said. “So much for olive branches.”
Republicans also opposed the bill, with some saying it would hurt small businesses and rural parts of the state.
Democratic Delegate Dereck E. Davis, chair of the House Economic Matters Committee, said similar concerns were expressed when the state raised its minimum wage in 2014 and lawmakers responded by giving small businesses more time to make the changes.