ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed a measure to raise Maryland's minimum wage to $15 on Wednesday, as well as a measure to give local school boards the ability to decide whether school starts before or after Labor Day.
The Republican governor said the minimum wage hike approved by the General Assembly would hurt the state's economy. In his veto letter to leading Democrats who control the legislature, he noted that Maryland already raised the minimum wage four years in a row by nearly 40 percent to $10.10, where it currently stands.
"If the minimum wage increases to $15 per hour, small businesses would be facing a 48 percent increase in costs, which would make Maryland a much more expensive place to do business," Hogan wrote to House Speaker Michael Busch and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller.
The measure would raise the minimum wage in increments to $15 by 2025. Businesses with 14 or fewer employees would have until July of 2026 to implement the $15-an-hour wage.
Democrats passed the measure with enough support in both chambers to override the veto, before the legislative session ends April 8.
Hogan also vetoed a bill that would remove regulatory authority over alcohol, tobacco and gasoline from the Maryland comptroller's office. He criticized that measure and the bill regarding the start of the school year as "politically motivated legislation."
Hogan issued an executive order in 2016 to require schools to start after Labor Day. The governor says the bill runs counter to what is favored by most Maryland residents: starting school after Labor Day.
Supporters of the governor say the longer summer breaks give families more time together and help tourism, but critics say it shortchanges education and noted that different jurisdictions have different scheduling needs.
Comptroller Peter Franchot, a Democrat, has described the measure to remove regulatory powers from his office as political retribution against him for standing up for the small craft brewing industry. He has described it as a needless and expensive action for work that is done well under his office. But supporters of the change say there are only three states that with those regulatory powers in the office of an elected official.
All three measures passed with enough votes to override vetoes, if all of the legislators who voted for them vote to override.