By John Shepley

As a small business owner, I support legislation to increase Maryland’s inadequate minimum wage because it makes good business sense. It’s an important part of our economic recovery and economic progress. I know businesses can pay a better minimum wage and still make a profit -- it helps the business prosper.

Opponents of this legislation like the Maryland Chamber of Commerce, the Maryland Retailers Association, and the Restaurant Association tell you the time is not right to increase the minimum wage because the economy is weak. What they don’t want you to remember is that for them the time is never right. In 2005, they opposed legislation to raise Maryland’s minimum wage from $5.15 an hour to $6.15. They opposed federal legislation to raise the minimum wage in 1996, in the middle of the longest economic expansion in our nation’s history. Then president of the Maryland Retailers Association, Tom Saquella, cut to the chase when he said about their opposition in 1996, “A lot of it’s philosophical.”

So let me cut to the chase: If my business, a small nursery in rural Harford County, can profit and grow when paying a wage that people can thrive on, then there’s no reason any viable business cannot do that too. Unless, that is, their philosophy is getting in the way of good business sense.

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