by Alex Lloyd Gross
The minimum wage in Pennsylvania is stuck at $7.25/hr. Democrats and republicans rallied to raise the wage to $9.50/hr in the senate in 2019. that bill went nowhere when it got to the house and it died. That as the highest paid state legislature in the United States got another cost of living pay raise that year.
In 2021, Republican State Senator Daniel Laughlin introduced a bill to raise the state minimum wage to $10.00/hr . This has been co sponsored by Senator Patrick Browne. This bill
has been a long time in coming. “I listened to my constituents and they want it done. . There is a lot of talk about raising it to $15/hr which has gotten resistance. This bill puts the wage at $10.00/hr right away and it is indexed for inflation,” Laughlin said. He is very well aware of the public backlash as the wage has yet to increase since 2007. “People say that the realistic min wage is $9.00/hr already, so why not raise it to $10/hr,”? asked the senator.
He needs support from fellow republicans as well as democrats. “I have spoken to Senator Haywood and Senator Street and they are both on board with this bill,” Laughlin said. The bill will go to committee and get voted out of committee. It will then go to the full senate for a vote. He expects the vote to go to the floor in May or June. It then must go to the house. That is where the problem is.
Specifically, the obstacle is Rep Jim Cox. He chairs the labor and industry committee and he is directly responsible for killing the past minimum wage bill. He refuses to discuss it and refused to even allow it to come up for a vote. “That is wrong, it should get brought up for a vote up or down,” Laughlin said.This republican represents Erie County.
Closer to home, Democrat Art Haywood said that he supports Laughlin’s bill. “I will always support meaningful legislation to raise the wage and this is a good bill. I feel it’s the right number to get this passed,”he said opponents will trot out the same unfounded narrative that it kills jobs and raises prices. In fact, there is no bigger peddler of this than Gene Barr, who is a lobbyist. During a recent event on raising the wage, he said that areas in the state that are close to the border where the wage is higher have already raised their wages close to $15/hr. Do your own research.
That would include all states that border PA. A recent trip to Philadelphia found Dollar General and KFC hiring at $8.50 /hr. That took Barrs statement and put it in the fake narrative column. . This is not the only bill being considered to raise the wage. There is another bill for $15/hr and yet another to try to make gig workers employees. If that bill in even remotely similar to one passed in California, it decimated the self employment industry and killed jobs. That gig worker bill benefited only a handful of workers and put countless others in the unemployment line. It takes away the ability to get an IRS form 1099 and makes gig workers employees.
“The $10 wage bill should get a greater push in the house. The majority of the state wants to get this done,” Laughlin said. The bill, should it pass , is expected to be signed into law and would take effect by years end. “”I am open to compromise and should someone want to put in an amendment or do an adjustment, I am open to that discussion,” Laughlin said. You should call your state rep to give them your opinion on this issue.