HARRISBURG, Pa. (KDKA) — Gov. Tom Wolf says he has a plan to raise Pennsylvania’s minimum wage to $12 an hour.
The debate over whether to raise the minimum wage returns when the Pennsylvania General Assembly reconvenes on Oct. 23, and Gov. Wolf set the stage for what could be a big fight after saying he wants to raise the minimum wage.
Wolf said last January that a $12 minimum would help thousands of working people across the state.
“When we give people a living wage for their work, we lift them out of poverty,” Wolf said in January.
Pennsylvania has not raised its $7.25 minimum wage in 10 years and has the lowest minimum wage among all of its neighbors.
“Since the Republicans have failed to act, we are continuing with our plan,” said JJ Abbott, Governor Wolf’s spokesperson.
The governor’s plan could run into more roadblocks.
A person working full-time shouldn't struggle to afford basic needs.
But this is the reality for people making $7.25 an hour.
— Governor Tom Wolf (@GovernorTomWolf) October 8, 2019
“I’m not in favor of raising the minimum wage artificially,” Rep. Valerie Gaydos said. “I think what we should do is examine how we can get peoples’ skill levels to where they can be making a higher wage.”
Lenny McAllister with the Commonwealth Foundation thinks the increase will hurt small businesses.
“They are going to be the ones that say they have to go from three employees to two,” McAllister said. “That is the last thing we need.”
Gov. Wolf said raising the minimum wage would save tax dollars in public assistance.
McAllister thinks the governor may be trying to bring Republicans to the negotiation table.
“There may be Republicans that may not want to go to $12 an hour, but maybe they will aqueous between $7.25 and $12,” McAllister said.
If passed, the minimum wage would go up 50 cents a year until it reaches $15 an hour.