Maria supports a statewide living wage.
Imagine trying to pay bills and raise a family on less than $8 per hour. It simply cannot be done. Lack of decent wages is a major factor in the prevalence of poverty and transience. Evictions are on the rise. Temporary shelters are being overcrowded. Individuals and families cannot achieve stable lifestyles if they are constantly forced to move around and cram into overcrowded apartments. Transient, unstable communities lead to increases in crime and a decrease in the quality of life for all residents. And really, what is the incentive to work if working does not lift you out of poverty?
A Baltimore City councilperson recently introduced a “living wage” bill for all retailers of a certain size. We could implement living wage legislation on a state-wide level. Opponents will claim that it will hurt business. In fact, when workers earn livable wages, they will have more money to spend on goods and services, and less reason to stay at home and collect unemployment checks. A living wage will have a “trickle up” effect on the economy.
The exact amount of a real living wage would vary by region of the state, but would fall between $9.50 and $12/hour. Let’s give people a reason to work. No matter who you are, you deserve basic dignity. If you work full-time, you should be able to pay your rent, food, clothes, transportation and utilities.