The Minimum Wage in Pennsylvania

Photo credit: PA House Democrats 
Photo credit: PA House Democrats 

In Pennsylvania and across the country the prices of our daily necessities and living expenses are increasing but the minimum wage remains the same. The minimum wage in Pennsylvania has been $7.25 since 2009 when the federal limit was set. New Jersey recently raised their minimum wage to $15.13 and Delaware raised theirs to $13.75. 

Philadelphia is the poorest big city in America. A part of lifting people out of poverty is increasing their wages and giving them a sustainable income. The average rent in Philadelphia is $1,700, according to the Post, while the yearly salary of someone making $7.25 an hour is $15,163.20. The MIT Living Wage Calculator estimated that a single adult needs to earn $34,128 to make ends meet and a single adult with one child needs to make $71,654. 

Increasing the minimum wage can not only boost people’s pockets but also their morale. Not having the stress of living paycheck to paycheck could help an employee focus on their work and not on making ends meet and having a liveable wage can increase retention rates. Higher wages also mean that consumers have more money to spend and that can have a positive impact on the economy. 

Those who oppose raising the minimum wage may argue that raising the minimum wage will increase the inflation rate. They are concerned that if wages increase then the cost of goods and services will increase but places like Washington D.C. have shown that it is possible to successfully raise the minimum wage, as they raised theirs to $17 an hour.

Your state legislature makes these decisions. Former Governor Tom Wolf attempted to raise the minimum wage during his term but the republican legislature never approved the measure.  You can make your voice heard by reaching out to your local representative to tell them this issue is a priority for Pennsylvanians.

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