January 25, 2017

Rep. Kim, House Democrats Seek Minimum Wage Boost (Again)

Rep. Patty Kim (D-Dauphin) Tuesday unveiled her proposal to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2023.
Rep. Kim’s bill went nowhere in the Republican-controlled House last session (prior House Bill 250) after a similar press conference, even after a discharge resolution was presented in October, 2015.
Sen. Scott Wagner (R-York) introduced a proposal-- Senate Bill 610-- in 2015 to raise the minimum wage from the current $8.75 to $10.25 over three years and provide a “training wage” for everyone age 18 and under of $7.25 per hour.
“In the budget negotiations, minimum wage should be a top priority,” Rep. Kim said. “Opponents will say we can’t afford to increase the minimum wage, but I must maintain, as we begin the 2017 legislative session, that this is something we simply cannot afford not to do.”
Rep. Kim’s proposal includes seven scheduled increases, beginning with $12 per hour effective July 1, with additional 50 cent incremental increases yearly to $15 per hour by 2023.
Currently, someone earning minimum wage who works 40 hours per week only earns $15,080, some $4,700 below the poverty line, requiring many people to rely on government assistance programs to get by.
The proposed change in the minimum wage will be the subject of a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing on January 30 at the YWCA, Highmark Room, 1101 Market Street in Harrisburg starting at 2:00 p.m.
At the hearing, Rep. Kim will be joined by Mary Quinn, president and CEO of the YWCA Harrisburg, Mark Price, Ph.D., a labor economist from the Keystone Research Center, and others to discuss her proposal in more detail.