By Ross Guidotti

HARRISBURG (KDKA) – State senators in Erie and Lehigh counties are proposing an increase in the state’s minimum wage.

The two Republican lawmakers say their proposal will help people put more money in their pocket while not hurting the bottom line for small businesses.

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Erie state Senator Dan Laughlin says the bill as it stands will be a happy medium between those calling for no increase and others who want to see minimum wage at $15 an hour.

It’s a hot button issue for many. For some, minimum wage isn’t nearly enough.

“You can’t even pay rent with a minimum wage job these days,” Kayla Cunliffe from Youngwood said.

For others, it’s a matter of “if you want to make more, make yourself worth more.”

“You not going to get more money unless you go get it or better yourself or go and learn something. I have a trade,” said Dave Gelotti, a business owner.

A GOP-sponsored bill in the state Senate may be the path to a happy medium.

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“It’s the right thing to do. It’s both people and business friendly,” said Laughlin.

Laughlin is co-sponsor of a bill that would see Pennsylvania’s minimum wage be bumped up from $7.25 an hour to $10 an hour. Those working on tips would get $2.38 an hour, or 40 percent of the standard minimum wage.

“This bill would also be tied to the inflation index, and in my opinion, that’s been lacking all along,” said Laughlin.

When it comes to neighboring states and minimum wage, West Virginia is $8.75 an hour, Ohio is $8.80 an hour, Maryland is $11.75 an hour and New York is $12.50 an hour.

Laughlin says his proposal is slow and steady and won’t cripple small businesses already reeling from the impact of the COVID-19. And Laughlin says $10 makes sense in another way.

“If you go out and multiply the cost-of-living index over the years, it puts you right about that,” he said.

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And keep in mind, the bill as it stands more than likely wouldn’t see passage at least for another year to 2 years, giving time for businesses to recover and thrive.