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House Passes Minimum Wage Hike

The Pennsylvania House passed HB 1500 by a 103-100 count that calls for the state’s minimum wage to rise to $11 by the start of 2024, $13 in 2025, and $15 by January 1, 2026.

The bill also calls for the minimum wage in the Keystone State to be tied to inflation thereafter. It also includes language to set the tipped wage in the state to 60 percent of the minimum wage.

The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration where state Sen. Dan Laughlin (R-Erie) already has a similar bill (SB 743) in motion.

Republicans Joe Hogan (R-Bucks) and Kathleen Tomlinson (R-Bucks) voted for the bill, while Democrat Frank Burns (D-Cambria) voted in opposition,

Since 2009, Pennsylvania’s minimum wage has been $7.25 per hour. In 1997, Pennsylvania’s tipped wage was set at $2.83 per hour and has not seen an increase since that time.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 30 states have a higher minimum wage than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Fifteen states have or will have their minimum wage increase tied to the Consumer Price Index or other similar measures to provide automatic increases with inflation. The federal tipped minimum wage has been $2.13 per hour since 1991. Currently, 28 states have a higher tipped minimum wage rate above Pennsylvania’s current $2.83 per hour.

Republicans balked at the bill, citing statistics that indicated few people actually earn the minimum wage and that fewer have families to feed on the $7.25 per hour figure.

GOP Rep. Russ Diamond (R-Lebanon) made the case that businesses will pass along the costs of the wage hike to its customers by raising prices. He also stated that due to inflation, the costs at his favorite restaurants have increased threefold, causing him to eat out less frequently.

Democratic Rep. Jim Haddock (D-Lackawanna/Luzerne) spoke on behalf of the bill and the cost of living in his district. He said his 19 towns require an average of $15.16 per hour to maintain a decent standard of living.

The Independent Fiscal Office provided an analysis of revenue proposals for the 2023-24 budget. The statute requires that the IFO “provide an analysis, including economic impact, of all tax and revenue proposals submitted by the Governor or the Office of the Budget.” The report uses various data sources to derive estimates of the revenue proposals included in the budget.

The IFO report also indicates that due to a contraction of the labor force participation rate and historically low unemployment, some employers may be more reluctant to reduce staff in response to a higher mandatory minimum wage. Moreover, Pennsylvania demographics suggest that the labor market will remain tight, due to a contracting working age cohort (age 20 to 64), which implies lower employment elasticities.

“It’s about time. No more games and no more waiting; the people of Pennsylvania deserve a minimum wage that is fair and competitive with our neighboring states,” said one of the bill’s sponsors – Rep. Jason Dawkins (D-Philadelphia). “There’s still a lot of work to do, but I’m pleased with the direction we’re headed. Raising the minimum wage will raise the wage of more than a million people in the commonwealth, improve people’s financial security and grow the state’s economy.”

“With the traditional budget deadline fast approaching, Pennsylvanians are eagerly waiting to see how state government is going to spend their tax dollars. But as the days continue to tick by, House Democratic leaders seem more interested in helping special interests and political posturing than leading the Commonwealth into a better tomorrow,” House Republican Leader Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) said.

This story updated to include quotes from Cutler and Dawkins.

2 Responses

  1. Much ado about nothing. Given today’s workforce challenges, try to find a job that pays minimum wage.

    1. What you mean is try to find a worker at minimum wage. Hard to find people to work at all, let alone for slave wage.





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