Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf is encouraging Republican lawmakers in the General Assembly to pass a legislation to increase the minimum wage in the state.
In a statement, Gov. Wolf reiterated it is time for Pennsylvania to raise its minimum wage, which is lower than its neighboring states.
“Workers in Pennsylvania are long overdue for a raise and it is well past time for Republicans in the General Assembly to raise Pennsylvania’s minimum wage. Pennsylvania has a lower minimum wage than every one of its surrounding states,” said Gov. Wolf.
Currently, Pennsylvania’s minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. The minimum hourly salary in states surrounding it including Delaware is $8.25, Ohio’s $8.30, New Jersey $8.60, West Virginia $8.75, Maryland $9.25 and New York $10.40.
Gov. Wolf emphasized that corporations receive huge tax breaks and the salaries of executives continues to increase. However, Pennsylvania workers at all levels are left behind. Many of them are working full time and have multiple jobs but barely making ends meet.
Additionally, the governor said, “Pennsylvania is falling behind others states and our neighbors are helping working families while the Republican-controlled legislature here has failed to act in the last decade. I join workers across Pennsylvania in calling for action to raise Pennsylvania’s minimum wage.”
Pennsylvania minimum wage is not enough
In January last year, Democratic State Rep. Patty Kim introduced a legislation to raise Pennsylvania’s minimum wage. Her proposal is to start with $12 per hour this year and then to $15 by 2024. For tipped minimum wage, her proposal is to increase it to $9 per hour this year and then to $12 by 2024.
Last month, Rep. Kim repeated his position that $7.25 per hour is not enough. She noted that a single person working 40 hours a week is only making only earns about $15,000, which is below the poverty line.To live in Philadelphia County, a single person needs to earn about $33,420 a year.
As a result, the worker is “forced to rely on state and federal government programs like Medicaid, housing subsidies and SNAP. A person working full-time needs to supplement his or her salary with taxpayers funded program. No matter how hard they work and get a job that pays $8, $9, or $10 an hour, they won’t be able to make ends meet,” said Rep. Kim.