The minimum wage in Pennsylvania is the same as the federal level, $7.25 an hour for a 40-hour work week. That comes out to about $15,000 a year, less than the poverty level for a family of two.
“By raising the minimum wage, we can significantly cut poverty,” said Sen. Art Haywood. “Sometimes we act like there’s a mystery. We don’t know how to cut poverty. There’s no mystery to it. Raise the minimum wage.”
Senator Haywood is a co-sponsor of a Senate Bill 12, which would gradually raise the minimum wage in Pennsylvania, ultimately to $15 an hour.
It’s similar to a House Bill introduced by Representative Patty Kim.
“$7.25 an hour is not enough, and it’s hurting us,” said Rep. Kim. “A lot of times, the proponents forget about the unintended consequences of those actions.”
Rebecca Oyler with the National Federation of Independent Business says raising the minimum wage would result in a loss of jobs, especially for young people.
“The minimum wage is a building block for them to work forward into the job force. Those jobs will be lost, because they won’t be able to afford to pay young people the salaries that will be required,” said Oyler.
Senator Haywood says that hasn’t been the case for Pennsylvania’s surrounding states, all of which raised their minimum wage.
“These are hard working people. They deserve the dignity of having their hard work be rewarded with decent pay,” said Sen. Haywood.
Senator Haywood says he does believe a minimum wage increase will be passed, but not until next year.