Portland minimum wage bill to get public hearing, vote

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PORTLAND — A public hearing on a proposed citywide minimum wage will be held Thursday at 5 p.m. in City Hall by the City Council Finance Committee.

The committee chairman, Councilor Nick Mavodones Jr., has said he expects the panel to vote on forwarding the ordinance to the full City Council. The new ordinance would create a minimum wage of $9.50 per hour beginning Jan. 1, 2016.

The wage would increase to $10.10 on Jan. 1, 2017 and $10.68 on Jan. 1, 2018, and be tied to any increase in the urban measure of the Consumer Price Index after that.

The new minimum wages would cover all public and private employees, and require employers who pay the state-allowed “tipped wage” to employees earning at least $30 per month in tips to make up the difference if wages do not reach the new minimum.

Mayor Michael Brennan said he supports leaving the tipped wage at 50 percent of the current state minimum wage of $7.50 per hour, instead of increasing it to 50 percent of a citywide minimum wage.

The Portland Green Independent Committee is gathering signatures for a citizen initiative to create a $15-per-hour wage for private businesses by Jan. 1, 2019.

Fifteen hundred certified signatures are needed to put the question on the Nov. 3 ballot. The citizen initiative will also require a public hearing before a referendum.

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or dharry@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

Portland City Hall reporter for The Forecaster. Baltimore native, lived in Maine since 1989. A journalist since 2005, covering much of Cumberland and York counties. I joined The Forecaster in 2012.