Raise the Wage in Pa.

A raise in Pennsylvania’s minimum wage is long overdue. While 29 other states have raised their wage above the federal limit – including every one of our neighboring states – our minimum wage still sits at $7.25, the lowest rate an employer is able to legally pay in this country.

Raising the minimum wage is not only good for workers; it’s good for businesses too. When the minimum wage goes up, employers see much less turnover. Workers are happier and more invested in their jobs, and businesses can significantly reduce the money spent on training new workers.

These benefits explain why some big corporations like Target and Wal-Mart have been raising minimum wages for their employees. Even local companies including Giant Food Stores and Boscov’s are joining in to pay their employees a better wage. Successful businesses realize that the cost of paying their workers a little more is offset by the positive effects on their workforce and the economy. More than 60 percent of American small-business owners support raising the minimum wage to $10.10.

Raising the minimum wage also would have a positive impact on Pennsylvania’s economy. The additional dollars that low-wage workers earn goes straight back into the economy.

There is a lot of questionable information floating around, so let’s set the record straight. Modestly raising the minimum wage does not hurt job growth. In fact, every state that raised its minimum wage in 2014 saw better job growth than the ones that didn’t.

Raising the minimum wage also would reduce low-wage workers’ need to rely on government assistance to get by. Eighty percent of workers making less than $10.10 per hour are older than 20, and working to support their families.

A recent study by MIT shows that a family of four, with two working adults living in Lancaster County needs to earn $14.76 per hour in order to get by with a "living wage.” Assuming both parents work full time at a minimum wage job, $10.10 still doesn't get them there, but its close. The current $7.25 requires 2 parents to work three full-time jobs.

Nearly 70 percent of Pennsylvanians support raising the minimum wage, including decisive majorities of support from both political parties. So what are we waiting for? It’s time for us to join our neighboring states, help our working families, and raise Pennsylvania’s minimum wage to $10.10.

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