Think tank pushes for increase of Pa. minimum wage

    A liberal-leaning think tank is urging Pennsylvania lawmakers to increase the state’s minimum wage next year. Seven other states will increase their minimum rates Jan. 1.

    Economist Mark Price of the Keystone Research Center said the cost of living keeps going higher and higher, but Pennsylvanians at the lowest salary scale are seeing stagnant pay.

    Price said raising Pennsylvania’s minimum wage to account for inflation over the last year would work out to about a 12-cent per hour increase — or less than $300 a year for those working a 40-hour week.

    “A minimum wage increase that was, say, tied to the rate of inflation would … not end poverty in Pennsylvania, and it won’t lift a lot of these workers out of poverty,” said Price. “But again, $300, that means a lot to a lot of low-income families.”

    Pennsylvania’s minimum wage is $7.25 — the same as the federal rate.

    A 2006 state law gradually increased the minimum wage by more than a dollar between 2007 and July 2009, when it was last increased.

    The governor and legislators’ salaries are tied to inflation rates, as are cabinet officials’ and state judges’ pay rates.

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