County Council approves minimum wage increase

County Council approves minimum wage increase

The minimum wage increase will go into effect in October 2014.

By Emily Raab, Production Editor

The Montgomery County Council approved an increase in the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.40 beginning in October 2014.

The increase, which will eventually lead to an $11.50 minimum wage in 2017, will make Montgomery County’s minimum wage one of the highest in the country.

“In a county as prosperous and with as high a cost of living as Montgomery County, we must do whatever we can to help the most vulnerable among us,” Council member Nancy Floreen wrote in her Nov. 27 blog.

Many CHS students with jobs are pleased with the increase in the minimum wage.

“I like the increase,” junior Dan Leptoukh said. “Making more money leaves me a happy employee.”

Although the increase in minimum wage does affect CHS students, it has an even greater effect on Montgomery County families in which the main breadwinners make minimum wage. With the current minimum wage, a full-time worker makes $15,000 a year, which is below the Federal poverty line.

“I’d love to make a little more because I’ll be able to save up for larger purchases and a little extra money is always good,” junior Abby Means said. “But I also don’t have to rely on the money I make to provide for my entire life because I am still a student.”

Small businesses, which employ many high school students, may suffer from the change. According to Floreen, the effects of the bill on small businesses will be closely monitored.

According to the National Federation of Independent Business, America’s leading small-business advocacy association, minimum wage increases can significantly reduce the profits of these small businesses. In addition, it may reduce the number of employees the businesses hire, decreasing job opportunities for high school students and other low-skilled workers.

The raise of the county’s minimum wage is part of a nationwide effort to increase the minimum wage and shrink the gap between the rich and the poor.

On Dec. 5, fast-food workers in over 100 cities across the US went on strikes against their low pay.

According to a Nov. 8 Huffington Post article, increasing the minimum wage is at the top of President Obama’s agenda, and he announced his support for legislation that would increase the federal minimum wage to $10.10.