Senator Christine Tartaglione, Rep. Patty Kim, Gov. Tom Wolf

In a letter released today, 38 researchers and analysts agreed that now is the time for a ‘bold increase’ in a minimum wage that has stagnated for more than a decade.

PHILADELPHIA, PA, March 13, 2019 – The $15 minimum wage proposal crafted by State Senator Christine M. Tartaglione(D-Philadelphia) in partnership with Governor Tom Wolf hasearned the endorsement of 38 economists and social scientists, who have co-signed a letter calling for a bold increase in Pennsylvania’s outdated minimum wage.

The economic researchers and analysts represent academic institutions from throughout the Commonwealth and across the nation, as well as the Washington, D.C., based Economic Policy Institute and Harrisburg-based Keystone Research Center, which released the letter today. The full text of the letter and its signatories is available at www.keystoneresearch.org.

“It’s been 13 years since the Commonwealth last raised its minimum wage and a decade since the federal government enacted its most recent minimum wage adjustment. Meanwhile, executive salaries have continued to soar, the middle class has continued to shrink, and income inequality has reached an all-time high. All of this has happened as worker productivity has reached unprecedented heights,” Senator Tartaglione said. “Thirteen years is far too long to wait for a raise.”

Senator Tartaglione will soon introduce Senate Bill 12 which would raise Pennsylvania’s minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $12 this year, followed by annual raises of 50 cents until it reaches $15 by 2025. Thereafter, the minimum wage would be linked to automatic annual cost of living adjustments. The legislation would also eliminate the sub-minimum wage, which allows employers to pay as little as $2.83 per hour to certain categories of workers, such as tip-earners, those with disabilities, trainees, and students.

The economists stated that the new minimum wage proposal would directly lift the wages of 1.5 million Pennsylvanians by 2025, in addition to another 500,000 who make just above $15 now and would likely receive a pay raise as their employers adjust internal wage scales. Adjusted for inflation, today’s minimum wage workers in Pennsylvania earn 29 percent less per hour than their counterparts did 50 years ago, although worker productivity has doubled in Pennsylvania in that time.

“The vast majority of employees who would benefit are adults – disproportionately women – in working families, who work at least 20 hours a week and depend on their earnings to make ends meet,” the economists wrote.

In addition, the economists stated that the “weight of the evidence” of “rigorous academic research” has shown that measured increases in the minimum wage elsewhere have had “little or no negative effects” on the employment status of low-wage workers. On the contrary, the raises for two million Pennsylvanians would amount to $6.5 billion in higher wages, which would benefit their families and the communities in which they live, including local businesses.

“It’s time to support a bold increase in Pennsylvania’s minimum wage to address the fact that our wages for workers at the low end of the labor market have continued to stagnate, and to help reverse decades of growing pay inequality,” the letter stated.

“These economists are at the forefront of research on the topic. I welcome their endorsement of my plan and their reaffirmation that Pennsylvania must act now to raise the minimum wage. It’s long overdue,” Senator Tartaglione said.

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact William Kenny at 215-533-0440 or email at William.Kenny@pasenate.com.