The Chamber’s Board of Directors recently voted to oppose a plan by Governor Tom Wolf that would more than double the state’s minimum wage by 2025. As part of his 2019-2020 budget proposal, Wolf is calling for an increase in the minimum wage to $12 an hour in 2019, with annual increases of $.50 per hour to get to $15. The tipped wage would also be eliminated. Board members expressed concerns about the impact on non-profit organizations and service businesses, as well as the potential ripple effect to consumers.
A report by the Independent Fiscal Office estimates that a mandated increase to $12 would lead to minimum wage employees seeing a reduction in hours and the loss of 33,000 jobs throughout the Commonwealth. The report also concludes that this proposal will result in a ‘more difficult entry into the labor market for inexperienced workers, especially part-time high school and college students.’ The PA Chamber of Business and Industry has long advocated for policies to help low-income families without risking jobs.
The letter sent to Senator Gordner and Representatives Kurt Masser and David Millard notes that, with low unemployment rates, there are many unfilled job openings in our area with starting wages well above the minimum wage. Also, such a dramatic increase could put Pennsylvania at a disadvantage in retaining and attracting employers.