GUEST BLOG: We’re with Governor Wolf on the Minimum Wage

By: Senator Tina Tartaglione and Representative Patty Kim

March 15, 2016

Despite the financial challenges facing Pennsylvania due to Republican intransigence, we support Governor Tom Wolf’s efforts to help all workers receive a living wage as leading advocates for a fairer minimum wage.

We were proud to be with the governor as he announced his action to raise pay for lower wage state employees.

executive-order-signing

The truth is that a minimum wage that is at least $10 per hour would generate millions in new state income and save the commonwealth millions more. In face of daunting fiscal challenges with the state budget and many workers living in poverty, the legislature should raise the minimum wage now.

Paying people a fair wage of not less than $10 per hour reaps huge benefits for this commonwealth and all of the families who live here. It’s a very commonsense approach to a very large and expanding problem we face here in Harrisburg.

There would be a $121.5 million increase in state income and sales taxes and a shift of $104 million in Medicaid payments from the state to the federal government. And these changes would go a long way in a budget environment like ours.

The increase would benefit more than 1.2 million Pennsylvania workers, many of whom are adults with families. Studies have consistently shown that an increase in the minimum wage does not result in job loss for low-wage workers.

Pennsylvanians who work full time at the minimum wage earn $15,080 annually, leaving them below the poverty level for a family of four and unable to afford basic necessities.

It’s long past time that Pennsylvania raises its minimum wage to compete with all of our surrounding states.

The time is now to enact this commonsense change to help workers.

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