Democratic lawmakers in Pa. call for minimum wage increase as inflation rises

The federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour has not changed since 2009.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — A group of Democratic lawmakers will hold a news conference Monday in Harrisburg to call for raising Pennsylvania’s minimum wage to $12 an hour with a path to $15 an hour.

Pennsylvania currently follows the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. A full-time minimum wage worker would make $15,080 annually.

Gov. Tom Wolf and Democrats in both the House and Senate have long pushed for a pay rise that hasn’t changed since 2009. No action was passed in the GOP-controlled legislature, however, as Republican lawmakers have largely opposed an increase in the minimum wage.

Advocates of higher wages point out that the $7.25 hourly rate in 2009 would require $9.88 per hour to maintain the same purchasing power due to inflation.

The think tank Pa. The Budget and Policy Center argues that a living minimum wage stimulates spending in the local economy and discourages workers from relying on free public services like food banks.

Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce leadership, meanwhile, has said businesses still grappling with the pandemic cannot afford the increased labor costs that a higher minimum wage would require.

Opponents of raising the minimum wage have said that raising the minimum wage is not necessary to raise wages as prevailing wages have already risen due to a tight labor market. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly wage in Pennsylvania is currently $21.59.

The press conference is scheduled for 10 a.m. in the rotunda of the east wing of the Capitol.

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