During a discussion at the Pennsylvania Press Club, Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre) mostly lauded Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget proposal, while indicating a discussion about raising the minimum wage should happen.
“I think the minimum wage discussion needs to happen,” Corman said.
The current minimum wage in PA is at $7.25 an hour, which is the federal minimum wage. Last month, Wolf renewed his call for an increase in the state minimum wage to $12 an hour effective on July 1, 2019. The Democratic governor’s proposal included a gradual increase by 50 cent increments until it reaches $15 an hour in 2025.
Corman said he met with Senate Minority Chair of Labor and Industry Christine Tartaglione (D-Philadelphia) about this issue, although he sees $15 as not plausible.
“Look it’s like anything else, it’s gotta be a reasonable discussion,” Corman said. “$15 is not a reasonable discussion. It’s just not.”
In a statement, his office did not specify a specific a number to start off at, but reiterated his call for those who would like to see an increase to propose a “reasonable plan so we can move this forward.”
Although this statement from Corman does not assure minimum wage advocates that an increase is coming, Tartaglione chimed in on Twitter sharing that the GOP Senate Majority Leader’s comments were “great news” and that she is looking forward to having discussing with him about it.
GREAT NEWS!!! Look forward to having discussions with @JakeCorman to move this forward https://t.co/WBaeORc5Q6
— Senator Tartaglione (@SenTartaglione) February 25, 2019
Anyone who works with the marginalized know that a minimum wage of $7.25 can’t sustain a family of one much less more than one. We need to ensure that wages are enough to keep people out of poverty. With the cost of food and housing going up how many jobs does one have to do each day just to make ends meet? Fifteen dollars and hour is moving in the right direction and we can start to see people able to move off welfare.
The historical record is clear that the minimum wage was always originally meant to be a living wage. For Pennsylvania as a whole, that is about $12 an hour minimum right now. Make it $12 for now, index it to inflation automatically adjusted annually, and allow local governments to adjust up based on their cost of living. It is good policy and good politics.
High school students and seasonal recreational workers (e.g. amusement parks, swimming pools) are already exempt from minimum wage requirements, so people complaining about the death of summer jobs or whatever nonsense are misinformed.
“No business which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country.” – FDR