From PA Chamber of Business & Industry
Last week, the PA Chamber spoke out against a renewed attempt by proponents to impose mandatory wage hikes on employers. The “Raise the Wage” coalition marched to the state Capitol to voice support for legislation that would force employers to pay workers as high as $15 an hour, without any regard to their ability to pay that amount. Their message was given backing by Lt. Gov. Mike Stack (who spoke at the event,) some lawmakers and Gov. Tom Wolf. PA Chamber Government Affairs Director Alex Halper expressed the business community’s concerns with this misguided approach to addressing Pennsylvania’s income gap in TV interviews.
The PA Chamber helped defeat similar legislation last session by pointing out that a government mandated wage increase would have a negative impact on many employers, particularly Pennsylvania’s small business community. The last time the state raised the minimum wage, small business owners were forced to shelve expansion plans, reduce employee hours, limit hiring and in some cases, cut jobs. The Columbia Montour Chamber also sent letters to state lawmakers opposing a minimum wage increase.
Various legislative proposals to increase the minimum wage have been authored this session, and Governor Wolf voiced support for a bill by state Rep. Patty Kim, D-Dauphin last week that would increase the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.
Rather than implement an across-the-board wage hike that doesn’t take businesses’ individual financial situations into account, the PA Chamber has urged lawmakers to pursue more effective, targeted policies like strengthening successful workforce development programs that allow employees to transition upward through the workforce, develop career-building skills and earn better wages.