Prince George’s County Council has voted to increase the minimum wage in increments from $8.40 to $11.50. Now both Prince George’s and Montgomery County’s Councils ($11.50 by 2017) have voted to increase their minimum wages. Currently, Fairfax and Arlington’s living wage is $13.13 an hour, so we still have a way to go to bring parity. Let’s face it, living in this area costs and to own or rent anything is in the DMV was out of control yesterday. I know that the con argument against raising the minimum wage is that is discourages businesses from opening in PGCo, but businesses stand the potential to make more money in this county so it’s only fair that they pay them employees enough to live.
Not controversial thought, right? Think again. The Gazette reported some drama and threats that took place with Montgomery County’s vote, “Councilman Hans Riemer (D-At Large) of Takoma Park said a Montgomery County senator told him that Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. had a message for the council: the higher the new wage, the more likely the state would try to take away its wage-setting authority. He later said the senator might have told him it was a message from Senate leadership, not Miller. But Miller (D-Dist. 27) of Chesapeake Beach, when asked about the allegation, released a statement saying he “respects” Montgomery County’s right to set its own wage level.
Further, “Riemer said Wednesday he didn’t remember exactly what words were used to relate the message, but its intent was clear: The state didn’t want the county to raise the wage on its own. “The higher you go, the more likely we are to pre-empt you,” Riemer said he was told. He declined to reveal the identity of the senator, because the conversation was private. Seven of Montgomery County’s eight senators said they did not give such a message to Riemer. The eighth, Sen. Brian J. Feldman (D-Dist. 15) of Potomac, did not return calls for comment.”