BLOG: All of Pennsylvania’s neighbors have raised the minimum wage. We need to catch up.

By: Megan Healey, Deputy Press Secretary

March 11, 2016

We already know that 70 percent of Pennsylvanians support raising the minimum wage — but did you know legislatures in all of our neighboring states have already raised the wage?

Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and West Virginia all have passed legislation to raise their state minimum wage above the federal minimum.

And our neighbors aren’t alone — 29 states, plus the District of Columbia, have raised their minimum wage above the federal level of $7.25 per hour. Check out this chart from the Pew Researh Center to see wages in these states.

States With Minimum Wages Higher Than the Federal
Here are some quick facts about raising the wage in Pennsylvania:

  • A minimum wage increase in Pennsylvania would benefit more than 1.2 million Pennsylvania workers, many of whom are adults with families.
  • A full-time, year-round worker earning the current minimum wage earns less than the federal poverty threshold for a family of two.
  • Studies have consistently shown that increases in the minimum wage have not reduced the employment of low-wage workers.
  • The inflation-adjusted hourly earnings of the bottom fifth of Pennsylvania workers are lower today than they were in 1979. The current minimum wage of $7.25 per hour has 18 percent less purchasing power than the minimum wage had in 1979.

Earlier this week, Governor Wolf announced he was raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.15 for all state employees under his jurisdiction — those include about 450 commonwealth workers, as well as all state contractors moving forward. While it was an important step, it represents only a small subsection of Pennsylvania’s workforce.

So the governor, himself a former business owner who raised the minimum wage for his own employees, has joined forces over the past week with others in the private sector to call for the state legislature to do what our neighbors have already done: pass legislation to raise the minimum wage statewide for all workers.

Pennsylvania needs to catch up with neighboring states: It’s time to raise the minimum wage.


Read more posts about raising Pennsylvania’s minimum wage.

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