Report: PA Minimum Wage Increase Would Benefit 1.4 Million Workers |
Pennsylvania’s budget deadline approaches Thursday. Governor Tom Wolf calls for a minimum wage increase that would bring the state to $15 an hour by 2028.
A new brief profiles the workers who would benefit.
Keystone Research Center analysis found that about 1.46 million workers in Pennsylvania would see higher wages from the increase.
Claire Kovach, senior research analyst at Keystone Research Center, said the workers who would benefit the most are those deemed essential during the pandemic, such as those in healthcare, retail, social services, etc
She said the state minimum wage has been stagnating for too long.
“One of the minimum wage jobs I had 12 years ago still advertises $7.25 an hour today,” Kovach said. “So the minimum wage worker that’s where I was a dozen years ago, he’s getting a wage with about 25% less purchasing power than I was then.”
Raising to $15 by 2028 would equate to an increase of $3,800 for the average full-year worker, Kovach said.
If passed, the gradual increase would begin with a boost to $12 an hour in July. Opponents of raising the minimum wage worry about the costs to businesses.
The brief also reveals that of the entire proposed minimum wage increase from July 2022 to July 2028, about $30 billion would be pumped back into the state’s economy.
Kovach added that with rising inflation and growing financial insecurity among Pennsylvanians, an increase in the minimum wage could be a lifeline for families.
“There’s an interesting thing that happens when you give low-wage workers a raise,” Kovach said. “They don’t store that money in offshore accounts. That money goes directly back into the economy and actually generates more economic movement and more economic benefit to communities than some other economic stimulus.”
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Living Wage Calculator shows that today a single adult in Pennsylvania needs to earn almost $17 an hour to support themselves, while a single adult with one child needs almost $33 an hour to support themselves to the needs of his family.