I’m happy to pay more than Pennsylvania’s minimum to the person who helps me keep my home clean and healthy. A person who works should be valued enough to earn a minimum wage of $15 an hour, but that’s not what some Republicans think. Some use that old chestnut that the number of jobs decreases when the minimum wage is increased.
It just ain’t so! Since 1938, the federal minimum wage has increased 22 times. During those 78 years, real GDP per capita has steadily increased, despite minimum wage increases. People who earn more spend more.
Pennsylvania’s minimum wage has remained at $7.25 per hour since 2009. Now states are recognizing that it is time to raise it again. As of Jan. 1, 2015, 29 states plus the District of Columbia have set their minimum wage above the federal level of $7.25.
Pennsylvania’s neighbors have increased their minimum wage: New York, $9/hour; Maryland, $8.75/hour; West Virginia, $8.75/hour; and Ohio, $8.10/hour. Recently, New Jersey proposed increasing theirs.
Pittsburgh’s mayor signed an executive order to increase the minimum wage of city employees there, and last month, Gov. Tom Wolf did the same for state employees. Now the governor is urging a statewide increase. Legislation has been held hostage in committee for over two years.
It looks like we need to get vocal and tell our folks in Harrisburg to make Pennsylvania competitive with our neighboring states. It’s time to raise the minimum wage.
Carole A. Briggs, Brookville