Minimum wage debate focuses on entire Md. economy

As the debate shapes up over a possible minimum wage increase, the loudest voices on both sides are talking about Maryland's whole economy -- not just the plight of individual workers or employers.
 
Gov. Martin O'Malley told a House committee Tuesday that a higher minimum wage would strengthen the middle class and cause economic growth.
 
Douglas Hall, a Washington economist, testified that O'Malley's bill -- raising the minimum wage to $10.10 -- would likely lead to more spending on goods and services, which could create more jobs.
 
Opponents fought back on the same territory, citing studies that the bill would kill jobs and cause price increases.
 
Del. Neil Parrott, a Washington County Republican, argued for an alternative bill that makes it easier for counties to set their own minimum wages. 
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