ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP)- The Maryland Senate Finance Committee is considering a bill that would increase Maryland's minimum wage to $10 an hour by 2015.
The state's current minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, the same as the federal rate.
Supporters of the measure say that Maryland workers are in desperate need of a raise and insist that higher wages would increase consumer spending and inject millions into the state's economy.
Opponents of the legislation argue that a wage increase would drive up employer costs, causing higher prices for consumers and possible layoffs.
If passed, the legislation under consideration Thursday would also raise the minimum wage for tipped workers from 50 percent to 70 percent of the full minimum wage.
It also would adjust the minimum wage annually with the cost of living.
Donald Scott, owner of Breaktime, a restaurant in Salisbury, says this would be bad for business. Scott says the majority of his employees' wages are based on the 50 percent status. "Our pay base for our servers and our bartenders and our bar backs would jump from $3.63 an hour to $7 it would double. So, consequently the industry we would cut man power and hours we would have to."
Sebastian Shakra owns Thirsty's on Route 13. He says he already pays his employees above minimum wage and he wouldn't mind the increase. "We usually have a lot of turnover when you hire somebody for minimum wage but we find that if you pay a little bit extra than the minimum wage that you can retain people and they can work good for you."