Maryland lawmakers debate minimum wage increase

ANNAPOLIS - It's a bill that could increase the paychecks for thousands of people across Maryland, but not everyone is on board. 

Hundreds of people testified at a hearing in Annapolis Tuesday before the House Economic Matters Committee. 

"Some people go home at night and they don't have anything to feed their children. And I know first hand from some of our workers before payday, after payday, they don't have money to buy groceries," Cynthia Murray, a Walmart employee, said..

Murray said she knows all too well what it's like to work hard to barely make ends meet.

"These people work hard, all of us, and the raise would mean so much to all of us," she said.

But those opposing the bill said the additional pay would hurt small businesses, force some companies to cut back on staff, and encourage new businesses to open their doors in other states with lower minimum wage requirements.

"In my view, public policy is not advanced by having wages increased for a few people at the expense of putting their neighbors on welfare," said Del. Steven Schuh.

But supporters said the additional pay would help, and raising the minimum wage won't cost jobs or cause unemployment.

"It's going to be, first of all, a big shot in the arm to the local economy, because when you put money in the pockets of low wage workers they plow it back into the local economy," said Del. Tom Hucker.

Another hearing on the state's minimum wage will be held on Thursday in the Senate Finance Committee.

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