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HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Hearings on Gov. Tom Wolf‘s $34.1 billion budget plan kicked off with a volley of Republican attacks on raising Pennsylvania’s minimum wage, spurred by a proposal the Democrat is newly backing.

Monday’s first House budget hearing featured Republicans repeatedly criticizing the broader impact of a minimum wage increase, including whether it would mean fewer entry-level jobs, squeeze small businesses or drive up inflation.

Wolf supports legislation to raise Pennsylvania’s hourly minimum to $12, which would make it one of the nation’s highest. Annual 50-cent increases would bring it to $15 an hour in 2025. Wolf says it would boost pay for a million workers and provide savings in programs for the poor.

The Republican-controlled Legislature previously has blocked similar proposals, while most states have increased theirs above the $7.25 federal minimum.

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