As City Council Considers Measure, Poll Shows Support for Minimum Wage Increase in Baltimore

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Nine out of 10 registered voters in Baltimore City approve of increasing the minimum wage in the city to $15 an hour, according to a new poll by a national survey firm.

The poll of 400 registered voters by The Mellman Group found that 81 percent strongly support the $15 minimum wage, with another 11 percent in support. Only six percent were opposed, and one percent did not know.

“The people of Baltimore have spoken loud and clear that they want workers in the city to be paid a fair, living wage,” said Charly Carter, Director of Maryland Working Families, a member of Fight for $15 Baltimore Coalition, in a statement. “The poll mirrors what we hear every day in the community. There is overwhelming support for a $15 minimum wage, and it’s time that the City Council and mayor listen to the voters and do what’s right for working people.”

The Baltimore City Council is considering legislation that would increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022. Businesses with fewer than 50 workers would have until 2026 to phase in the increase.

The poll found solid opposition to a section of the legislation that would exempt workers under the age of 21 from the $15 wage. In all, 56 percent of voters oppose the exemption for workers under the age of 21, compared to 39 percent who support it.

“Young adults in the workplace are often supporting themselves and trying to pay for school,” Carter said. “It’s not fair to exempt them from a livable minimum wage. They work as hard as other workers and deserve to be paid fairly, too.”

Overall, 61 percent of voters said a $15 minimum wage would strongly help the city’s economy with another 22 percent saying it would help the economy. The poll has a margin of error of five percent.

“Residents of Baltimore understand that paying people a fair, livable wage will give workers a shot at supporting themselves and their families,” Carter said. “But they recognize that paying a higher wage to lower-income workers will also pay dividends in the local economy. A minimum wage increase is going to benefit Baltimore businesses.”

The committee hearing on the issue will begin at 5 p.m. in City Hall.



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