A couple hundred people filled the steps in the Capitol Rotunda Tuesday to call on state lawmakers to increase the minimum wage, but that’s not something senior state lawmakers are considering right now.
State Rep. Patty Kim (D-103rd) has been calling for the minimum wage increase for months. Under her bill, it would go up to $9 per hour 60 days after being signed into law. A year later, the minimum wage would increase again to $10.10 per hour.
Kim said, “Let’s encourage financial independence and wean people off public assistance by giving them a liveable wage. How much could we save if less Pennsylvanians depend on public housing and food stamps?”
In addition, people who work for tips, such as restaurant servers, would see their hourly rate increase from $2.83 to $5.05 plus the tips they earn.
“I work as hard as I can, but at the end of the month I sweat whenever a bill comes in the mail,” said Tyree Carter, a server.
The head of the Pa. Chamber of Business and Industry has been lobbying against the proposal. He questions the impacts raising the minimum wage could have on small businesses and their willingness to hire.
“Our members, to be honest, are predominately small businesses. They have tremendous concerns over this because most minimum wage jobs are in the small business side,” said Gene Barr, president of the chamber.
There’s no support among senior Republican lawmakers for taking up Kim’s proposal.
“We don’t have any current plans to consider the legislation,” said Erik Arneson, spokesman for Senate Majority Dominic Pileggi (R), in an email.
Jay Pagni, spokesman for Gov. Tom Corbett (R) said the governor is concerned about what impact the proposal could have on the state’s economy as it shows signs of improvement. If a bill got to the governor’s desk, Pagni wouldn’t say if Corbett would sign it.
Democrat Tom Wolf, who is running against Corbett, has said he supports increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour.
To see a state-by-state comparison of the minimum wage across the country, click here.