Listen to Maryland Employees: Save the Tip Credit

Earlier this month, over a hundred local employees filed into a Maryland Senate Finance Committee hearing between shifts – pleading with state lawmakers to preserve the existing tip credit system.

Despite such a cold reception to a policy that’s been reintroduced by progressive lawmakers for years, House Delegate Adrian Boafo had a hot take: circumvent the traditional deliberative lawmaking process entirely, and try to send the measure to the public ballot instead.

Del. Boafo pulled his own bill to eliminate the tip credit just days before a scheduled hearing on Valentine’s Day – one of the biggest nights of the year for restaurant industry employees. Instead, Boafo announced he would file a constitutional amendment – which would eventually have to be passed by a public vote at the ballot box.

Activists claim “the people need to decide” on this measure that has failed at multiple attempts. Yet actual employees who stand to lose their jobs and lucrative tip earnings have been telling Maryland legislators for years: tipping is not a broken system, and the tip credit does not need to be changed.

Here’s a quick history of how employees have led the fight to save the tip credit and tipping in Maryland:

Getting the public involved in a hotly debated policy issue is often noble. But the people most directly by attempts to eliminate the state tip credit have been active and vocal for over five years.

State lawmakers should continue to listen to the employees that would actually be affected by eliminating the tip credit in Maryland – not out-of-state activists who want to push policy regardless of the cost.