PA Chamber Warns of Negative Minimum Wage Impacts

With information provided by the PA Chamber of Business & Industry

Governor Tom Wolf and some lawmakers are calling for a significant increase in Pennsylvania’s minimum wage.  The plan calls for an increase in the wage to $12 an hour as early as July – with incremental increases until the wage reaches $15 an hour – as well as the elimination of the tipped wage.

PA Chamber President Gene Barr issued a statement in response to the plan, stressing that it would result in a 60 percent increase in entry level wages for businesses, with restaurants having to increase their minimum wage by more than 235 percent and ultimately by more than 500 percent.

In addition to reading stories of the negative impact that minimum wage increases have had in cities like Seattle (where the minimum wage is $15 an hour); and hearing real-world examples about the disparaging impact of minimum wage hikes; multiple independent studies have confirmed that these mandates lead to negative impacts on employment, including job loss. For instance, a Congressional Budget Office report found that an increase to $10.10 an hour would result in the loss of 500,000 to 1 million jobs nationwide, and a study by the state’s Independent Fiscal Office reached largely the same conclusions.  Given that the newly unveiled proposal would be even more far reaching, these negative impacts would only be exacerbated.

Rather than institute this “feel good” but out-of-touch mandate, the PA Chamber is promoting strengthened workforce development programs to help low-income workers advance through their careers and earn a better wage; along with other solutions like an Earned Income Tax Credit that aim to provide assistance to individuals in poverty without requiring employers to exclusively shoulder the financial burden. 

The PA Chamber continues to advocate against this mandate, and the Columbia Montour Chamber would like to send information to lawmakers about the job opportunities that are currently available in our area at higher than minimum wages. Businesses are asked to contact Chamber President Fred Gaffney with the number of available openings, and starting wage rates/ranges. Business names will be kept confidential.