HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — A push continues at the state capitol for Pennsylvania to raise the minimum wage. It currently sits at $7.25 an hour, and Senate Bill 1044 would raise that to $15 an hour over the next six years.
The bill would immediately raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour. There would be a 50 cent increase every year until 2024. After that, the wage would increase with the cost-of-living.
Rebecca Oyler is with The National Federation of Independent Business Today, she says this increase would hurt small businesses, and ultimately end up hurting their employees through reduced hours and job cuts.
“Increasing the cost of labor substantially across the board would be a disaster,” said Oyler. “Businesses are really worried about this. They’re worried this is going to really impact their labor costs and it’s really going to affect their bottom line.”
But supporters, like Senator Christine Tartaglione of Philadelphia, says the minimum wage hasn’t been raised in 12 years, and the increase is long overdue.
“For far too long, many Pennsylvanians have had to manage with far too little,” said Tartaglione. “A worker who logs 40 hours a week makes $15,000 a year, and that is unacceptable.”
But John Traynor, owner of Harrisburg’s Midtown Arts Center, says he currently starts employees at $12 an hour and it helps the entire community.
“By paying a livable wage and that means they’re able to live in Midtown, able to spend money in Midtown, able to rent or buy houses,” said Traynor.
There’s also a bill in the Senate that would increase the tipped wage to $12 an hour by the year 2024.