Maryland General Assembly approves raising minimum wage

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland General Assembly has approved incremental increases to the minimum wage over several years.

The House of Delegates voted 87-47 Monday to give final approval to increasing the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $8 in January.

It would rise to $8.25 in July 2015; $8.75 in July 2016; $9.25 in July 2017 and $10.10 in July 2018.

The vote sends the bill to Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley, who made the measure a priority this legislative session.

Supporters say the increase will provide more money for people to spend to help boost the economy. But opponents contend it will hurt businesses and lead to job losses.

The measure includes a provision to keep the salaries of community service providers who work with the developmentally disabled above minimum wage.