In collaboration with the governor and state Rep. Patty Kim, the senator will introduce legislation that will directly help more than one-third of Pennsylvania’s workers.
HARRISBURG, PA, January 30, 2019 – State Sen. Christine M. Tartaglione (D-Philadelphia) today joined Gov. Tom Wolf, state Rep. Patty Kim, many of their legislative colleagues, and many worker advocates to announce their plan to raise Pennsylvania’s outdated minimum wage, which has stagnated at just over $7 per hour for the last 12 years.
Under the new proposal, Pennsylvania’s minimum wage would rise from the federal minimum of $7.25 to $12 on July 1, 2019. It would then increase an additional 50 cents per year until reaching $15 in 2025, after which it would be linked to annual cost of living adjustments. Tartaglione will soon introduce this plan as legislation in the Senate, while Kim will introduce it in the House.
“Minimum wage is one of the most important issues facing us as elected officials and as a Commonwealth because it directly impacts so many of our constituents. Enacting our legislation would give raises to 2.1 million Pennsylvanians, who represent 37 percent of the total workforce,” Sen. Tartaglione said, quoting data compiled by the Keystone Research Center.
Inflation has grown by more than 20 percent nationwide in the last dozen years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and 29 states, along with the District of Columbia, have raised their minimum wages above the federal minimum – including California and Washington at $12, and New York at $11.10.
New minimum wage raises took effect in 21 states this month, and New Jersey lawmakers are planning to vote tomorrow on a plan to raise that state’s minimum wage to $15 over the next five years. All six of Pennsylvania’s neighboring states have higher minimum wages than the $7.25 in effect throughout the Commonwealth.
“Raising the Minimum Wage is long overdue. I know this because I sponsored Pennsylvania’s last successful Minimum Wage legislation in 2006,” Sen. Tartaglione said. “At the time, all the naysayers warned us that we would force Pennsylvania companies out of business and drive away countless jobs. These doomsday predictions never came to pass. Undaunted, our critics are making the same argument now. — that businesses can’t afford to pay a fair minimum wage, A LIVING WAGE!”
“(Pennsylvania) workers and their families would earn an additional $9.1 billion over five years, money that they will spend in their communities in support of businesses,” Senator Tartaglione said. “This new prosperity would benefit people from all walks of life – all ages, all races, all religions, and both women and men. It would help workers in our major cities, those who live in the suburbs, and our rural workforce.”
Wolf stated that raising the minimum wage would reduce demand for public assistance and save taxpayers a combined $155 million over the next two years. Nearly 17,000 people would leave the state-funded Medicaid program next year, and another 51,000 would leave the following year. A portion of that savings will be reinvested to raise wages for workers who provide Department of Human Services-supported childcare and home care for seniors and people with disabilities.
“Pennsylvania must be a place where hard work is rewarded. But our minimum wage hasn’t changed in a decade and too many hardworking people are struggling to get by,” said Governor Wolf. “Raising the minimum wage lets people afford the basics, like food, rent and transportation.
“It also lets people work their way off of public assistance rather than having taxpayers subsidizing employers that are paying poverty wages. One fair wage saves tax dollars, grows the middle class and creates new customers for businesses, which benefits all of us.”
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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.