The GOP champion of a minimum wage increase

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    Protesters rally for higher wages and a union for fast food workers during a protest in front of the Broad Street McDonald's at Girard Avenue in March

    Protesters rally for higher wages and a union for fast food workers during a protest in front of the Broad Street McDonald's at Girard Avenue in March

    Minimum wage earners in Pennsylvania currently make $7.25 per hour. Efforts to raise that are surprisingly coming from  state Sen. Scott Wagner of York County. This first-term Republican has quickly earned a reputation as among the most conservative members of his cohort, and he’s a small business owner to boot.

    “It’s been a surprise,” agreed Andrew Staub, Bureau Chief of the PA Independent. “But remember, Senator Wagner hasn’t been around a long time yet. He first came to the state Senate last spring — so there’s still plenty we don’t know about him.”

    Scott Wagner’s proposal would raise the minimum wage to $8.75, in fifty-cent increments over a three-year period. “He thinks that would be more palatable than raising it all the way to $10.10,” Staub explained, referring to the figure favored by both Gov. Tom Wolf and Wagner’s fellow Labor and Industry Committee member, Sen. Christine Tartaglione, adding “She’s said she’d be willing to negotiate.”

    Roughly 190,000 Pennsylvania workers earn the minimum wage or less.

    New Jersey raised its minimum wage to $8.25 for 2014 and then indexed it to the Consumer Price Index.  So for 2015, it now pays $8.38 an hour. Delaware’s wage is $7.75.  New York’s is $8.75.

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