“Day of Action” rally held to raise minimum wage

HARRISBURG, Pa.  Governor Tom Wolf and many others have been pushing to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025. A “Day of Action” rally was held Monday at the Capitol and around the state, to get the proposal passed as part of the 2019-2020 budget.

State Representative Seth Grove of York County said if the minimum wage is increased, it will lead to thousands of job cuts.

Many democrats believe the opposite, that more critical jobs will be filled instead.

The protestors said they've already waited long enough. Pennsylvania's minimum wage of $7.25 an hour has not been increased in more than a decade. It's one of the lowest in the country.

"No one who works should go hungry so their children can eat,” Teresa Miller, Secretary of the Department of Human Services, said. “No one who works should skip a doctor's appointment because they can't afford the copay."

Governor Wolf wants to raise it to $12 an hour effective July 1st, with a 50 cent increase over the next five years to get to $15 by 2025.

“Living on 15 dollars an hour that's $30,000 a year,” Matt Yarnell, President of SEIU Healthcare PA, said. “I think most people who walk the halls in this legislative building make a hell of lot more than $30,000 a year.”

Many republican legislators said the government shouldn't have to mandate a wage increase.

Representative Grove said thousands of companies will go out of business based on multiple studies in other states. He wants to put more time and energy into pursuing policies to help low income earners get family sustaining jobs. Things like job training programs that already get hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer money.

“I’m not sure there can be a comprise at this point” Grove said. “The Governor coming out saying he wants $15 an hour. He couldn't get it when it was at $10.10 an hour. When he came out with $15 an hour. It's to me more politics than it is an actual policy discussion.”

Other republican leaders do feel a comprise could be made. Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman of Mifflin and Juniata Counties said in a statement, “The Senate continues to take steps that will enhance Pennsylvania’s environment for creating family-sustaining jobs while developing the workforce to fill those jobs. I said in March that I was open to a discussion to consider changing the minimum wage. We are continuing to have that discussion so we can get to a place where all parties agree.”

The 2019-2020 budget is due June 30th. Leaders on both sides were doubtful a minimum wage deal will be reached by that time, so the issue probably won't be revisited again until the fall.

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