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4.17.23 – WJLA

As the state accelerates its $15-dollar minimum wage increase, Baltimore businesses are bracing to see how higher costs will affect their bottom line.

For small businesses, the labor price hike was previously scheduled for 2026, but will now roll out by the end of this year.

“As a small business, it’s always a struggle,” said Dwight Campbell, the owner of Cajou, a plant-based ice cream shop located downtown.

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With his small business still in a pandemic recovery period, while also facing record-high inflation, Campbell says Maryland’s looming minimum wage increase is just another burden to bear.

“It’s going to impact us,” he said.

An additional burden Campbell says some small businesses won’t survive.

“For some, it’s going to have dire consequences,” he said.

“They actually raised the minimum wage or accelerated the increase in the minimum wage at a treacherous moment in economic history,” said Economist, Anirban Basu.

According to Basu, the timing couldn’t be worse. He says Governor Wes Moore’s “Fair Wage Act” will speed up when Maryland hits a $15 minimum wage at the same time many economists predict the nation will be entering into a recession.

“If you add a recession to that mix, I think what you’re going to see is more people are going to start losing their jobs,” said Basu.

“Now that the timeline has been condensed a whole lot more it makes us now have to scramble,” said Campbell.

With plans of opening a second location, Campell says he’ll have to recalculate his costs of doing business, and potentially pass some of the price hikes off to customers.