Proposal could send minimum wage to $9.50 in Pennsylvania

After 10 years of no increases, lawmakers are considering raising the minimum wage again.

Senate Bill 79 calls for the current $7.25 minimum wage to increase between the years 2020-2022:

JULY 1, 2020: $8 an hour
JANUARY 1, 2021: $8.50 an hour
JULY 1, 2021: $9.00 an hour
JANUARY 1, 2022: $9.50 an hour

Kevin Schreiber, President & CEO of York County Economic Alliance told FOX43, many business owners are already paying employees above the current minimum wage of $7.25. He said the proposal of a minimum wage increase however, has been met with mixed reviews.

"I think people are certainly unsure what the impact will be, and there are both pros and cons," he said. Schreiber said there are nearly 10,000 small businesses throughout York County. Many businesses, he adds, are most concerned over how much of an increase will happen over what duration of time. He said, once businesses know that, they will be able to better predict what's ahead and how to mitigate the extra cost.

Many non-profit organizations are also waiting to see how the increase could impact them, Schreiber said, with many organizations' finances regulated by state and federal mandates.

"Many of the businesses that will be impacted can transfer that onto the consumer and non-profits obviously may not have that option," said Schreiber.

Ron Jacobs, owner of J.R.'s Fresh Cut French Fries in York, said he already starts workers at $10 an hour, with further increases from there. He said, he believes some businesses will be worried the increase will lead them to struggle. However, Jacobs said, businesses can find ways to make it work like he did.

"If it means putting your prices up a little bit, then you have to do that. If it means trying to cut expenses by putting one less napkin in the bag," said Jacobs.

However, Jacobs admits an increase up to 12 or 15 dollars would complicate his business as he likes to offer incentives for raises. Jacobs said he believes $9.50 is a good number, however, not enough of a wage if someone is the breadwinner of the family.

As for why he has chosen to pay his employees more than the current minimum wage, Jacobs said, "I think you need to offer people a fair wage. And, the minimum wage is just too low."

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