Minimum Wage Reality Check

3/30/17
from The Wall Street Journal,
3/30/17:

The mayor of Baltimore, of all places, vetoes a $15 an hour mandate.

The city of Baltimore hasn’t had much good luck of late, but maybe it has found some in a mayor willing to break with progressive theology by vetoing a minimum-wage hike. Mayor Catherine Pugh, a Democrat, has rejected a bill that would raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022. She did so even though she had campaigned in favor of raising the minimum wage, which shows that economic reality can be a powerful educator. She explained her change of heart by noting that raising the rate above the $8.75 an hour minimum that prevails in the rest of Maryland would send jobs and tax revenue out of Baltimore to surrounding counties. The increase would also have raised the city’s payroll costs by $116 million over the next four years when she’s already coping with a deficit of $130 million in the education budget. Her logic is hard to dispute, though progressives are trying. One local leader called her veto “an act of treason against the poor, the working poor, the underemployed, returning citizens, and single parents.” That’s true only if you’d rather have no job that pays an imaginary $15 an hour or a real job that pays what an employer can afford and still stay in business. Maryland’s minimum wage is set to rise to $9.25 in July and $10.10 a year later. That will cost some low-skilled workers their jobs, but not as many as a $15 mandate would. And Baltimore needs all the jobs it can get.

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