Harrisburg – February 3, 2017 – State Sen. Christine M. Tartaglione (D-Phila.) today announced that she will introduce legislation to incrementally raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2021.
“An increase in the minimum wage is justified morally and makes sense economically,” Tartaglione said. “It is unconscionable that someone working full 40-hour week at the current minimum wage is in economic peril.”

Under the proposal (Senate Bill 12), the current $7.25 minimum wage would increase to $12 on July 1, 2017 and incrementally go up until it reaches $15 in 2021. An inflation index would then be applied to eliminate the need for any future legislative action on the issue.

Tartaglione has been a long-time advocate of raising the wage. She was instrumental in helping to pass the last increase in 2006. Arguing that workers deserve to be treated more fairly, she has introduced legislation over the last several legislative sessions to hike the rate.

“There are few things that lawmakers can do that directly impacts working families as much as raising the minimum wage,” Tartaglione said. “The General Assembly has failed to act — and working men and women have suffered.”

Pennsylvania last raised the minimum wage in 2006. The federal government raised it to the current $7.25 per hour in 2009. Thirty-one states, five of which surround Pennsylvania, have minimum wages above the federal rate. Nineteen states have passed laws tying minimum wage increases to inflation.

There are approximately 87,000 minimum wage workers in Pennsylvania. A minimum wage worker at 40-hours per week for 52 weeks earns only $15,090 per year. The poverty rate for a family of two is $14,570 per year.

“We need to make sure that the wage is raised to a rate that lifts workers and working families out of poverty,” Tartaglione said. “We need strong legislative support for a robust increase to account for its loss in value since the last time the minimum wage was raised.”

According to the Keystone Research Center, if the minimum wage has been raised with inflation it would be $11 per hour today. An increase in the minimum wage would lift 1. 2 million Pennsylvanians out of poverty.

Tartaglione said her legislation would give municipalities the option of setting a higher minimum wage. The measure would also strengthen requirements for employers to keep accurate records to ensure that they pay the correct wage to workers.

State Rep. Patty Kim (D-Dauphin) has introduced a similar minimum wage increase proposal in the state House of Representatives.