Thank you for the introduction, Congressman Cummings.
How many people here today agree with me? Let's Give Maryland a RAISE!
WE BELIEVE that raising the minimum wage here in Maryland is the right thing to do, in our movement toward economic justice.
No one who works full time should have to raise their family in poverty
Maryland's minimum wage rate is $7.25 an hour, the same as the federal minimum wage rate.
Maryland has the highest median income in the nation -- it's time that Maryland joins with the 21 states and the District of Columbia that have minimum wage rates that higher than the federal rate.
That's why we have introduced legislation to raise that wage to $10.10 over the next 3 years.
According to the Economic Policy Institute, doing so would give 455,000 workers a raise, generate $456 million in new economic activity during the phase-in period, and generate or support approximately 1,600 new jobs in our state alone.
According to the Economic Policy Institute, 56% of minimum wage workers are women. 28% have children.
Minimum wage jobs are hard but essential.
They are in food service industry, in childcare, they are garbage collectors, retail salespeople, security guards and night watchman, administrative assistants.
WE BELIEVE in the dignity of the lowest-paid workers.
We're proposing an eventual annual increase of $5,000 for that worker, who previously earned $16,000.
It is no golden parachute. It's not a golden goose. It's $3 more an hour, $25 more a day, $125 more a week to better afford necessities.
Raising the minimum wage is an effective way to move many people into the middle class as quickly as possible
Prosperity doesn't trickle down from the top. It's built from the middle out. WE BELIEVE our middle class is the engine of wealth-creation.
Better paid employees are better customers.
And when the minimum wage is higher, every taxpayer is relieved from funding poverty programs for workers being paid poverty-level wages.
WE BELIEVE that if tax cuts for the wealthy had actually created jobs, today millions of Americans would not be out of work.
We believe that if high corporate profits had magically transformed into better wages, taxpayers would not spend billions every year in public assistance for employees of those corporations.
Let's continue to build our middle class, and strengthen our Maryland families and children.
Let's raise the minimum wage to where it should be.
Let's Give Maryland a RAISE!
And now, it's my pleasure to introduce Ricarra Jones from Raise Maryland.