ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Maryland Governor Larry Hogan is unveiling his new $17 billion dollar state budget -- which says has no new taxes and no gimmicks.
The Republican governor is already facing an increasingly combative Democrat-majority General Assembly. Democrats have proposed to raise the state minimum wage to $15 an hour and could again be a point of contention between lawmakers and the governor.
This minimum wage fight has already played out locally in both Montgomery County and D.C., which just passed laws gradually hiking the minimum hourly wage to $15 in 2020.
In Maryland, a minimum wage hike has proved elusive. Democrats in the House just moved to override Hogan's veto of a paid sick leave bill. Hogan said today he’s willing to talk about a minimum wage increase, but warned against any move he thinks would harm businesses or hurt job growth.
"Just this week they overrode the veto on the sick leave bill, we’re hoping they fix that bill, which they’ve agreed to do because it’s a terrible bill, that will cause the loss of jobs and small businesses, so to throw something else on top of those small businesses without fixing that would a disaster!”
This 2018 session isn't even a week old, and already, democrats are ramping up their opposition, as Hogan tries to become the first Republican governor to be re-elected in Maryland in 64 years.
The minimum wage in Maryland is currently $9.25 an hour, and is $11.50/hr in Prince George's County. It will become $10.10 for the state starting effective July 1, 2018.
Maryland’s Chamber of Commerce says raising it, would damage the state’s competitiveness.
But supporters of the minimum wage hike say it will put more money in the pocket of Maryland workers. Montgomery County state Senator Richard Madaleno – who’s also a Democratic candidate for governor.
"I would hope that Governor Hogan would join up with this measure to try and make sure that we make sure that the working people in the state of Maryland have a chance to have some wage growth, I mean it makes sense to me this debate is happening in Richmond, it’s already happened in DC and we need to have it happen in Maryland," said Sen. Richard Madaleno.
The politics aren't going any easier out here. All 188 general assembly seats are up for re-election in 2018. Governor Hogan says he’ll meet Wednesday morning with house speaker Michael Busch and Senate President Mike Miller at the Governor’s residence in Annapolis.