The Flight From $15: Pugh vetoes minimum wage hike bill

In a move that surprised no one, Mayor Catherine Pugh pledged to veto a city council bill that would raise the minimum wage to $15 inside city limits.

"I think it's important that we follow the lead of the state," Pugh, a former state senator, told a press conference in the ornate Ceremonial Room outside her office. "We need to take care of the 76,000 people in our city who are not working, and our 10,000 returning citizens, and the 3,000 people who are sleeping on the street."

Pugh said she consulted with other county leaders, state leaders, and nonprofit leaders in deciding to veto a bill she had previously said she supported.

She noted that the state is already raising the minimum wage to $9.25 an hour this summer, and to $10.10 starting next July 1. She said a higher wage just inside Baltimore City would hurt residents who work for low wages, by turning the city into a "donut hole." 

"It's very easy to move across the [county] line," Pugh said.

The city council passed the bill on Monday by a vote of 11-3, with only Councilmen Leon Pinkett (7th District), Isaac "Yitzy" Schleifer (5th District), and Eric Costello (11th District) voting no. Brandon Scott (2nd District) was absent.

But, as with previous council votes on things that matter, the seemingly veto-proof margin was anything but. Asked to comment on the council's vote, the mayor said, "I think we have some folks on the council who are taking a very close look at that."

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