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

The federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour hasn't changed since 2009.

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

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

Gov. Tom Wolf and Democrats in both the state House and Senate have long pushed for raising the wage, which hasn’t changed since 2009. No measures have passed in the GOP-controlled legislature, however, as Republican lawmakers have largely opposed raising the minimum wage.

Proponents of a higher wage point out that because of inflation, the $7.25 per hour rate of 2009 would require $9.88 per hour to maintain the same purchasing power.

Think tank Pa. Budget and Policy Center argues a living minimum wage boosts spending in the local economy and keeps workers from relying on free public services, like food banks.

Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce leadership, meanwhile, has said businesses still struggling in the wake of the pandemic can’t afford the increased labor costs that a higher minimum wage would require.

Opponents of raising the minimum wage have said raising the minimum wage isn’t necessary in order to raise wages, as prevailing wages have already gone up due to a tight labor market. The median hourly wage in Pennsylvania is currently $21.59, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The press conference is scheduled for 10 a.m. in the East Wing Rotunda of the Capitol. 

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