Keystone Research Center calls on Pennsylvania lawmakers to raise minimum wage

As public support for raising the minimum wage builds in Pennsylvania, the Keystone Research Center recently called on state legislators to increase wages to curb the state's "runaway income inequality."

"For decades now, policymakers in Washington, D.C., have failed to raise the federal minimum wage to sufficiently counter the effect of rising prices, leaving more low-wage workers in poverty or below a family sustaining income," Keystone Research Center said. "Today, every state that borders Pennsylvania has or will shortly have a minimum wage higher than the federal minimum wage."

Legislation to raise the minimum wage has been introduced in the Pennsylvania legislature by state Sens. Christine Tartaglione and Daylin Leach, along with state Reps. Patty Kim and Mark Cohen.

The center urged the Pennsylvania assembly to send a bill to Governor Tom Corbett that raises the minimum wage to at least $10.10 per hour, eliminates the tipped minimum wage and eventually automatically raises the minimum wage with inflation.

"The governor has signaled that he is opposed to a minimum wage increase; but given the popularity of an increase among Republican, Independent and Democratic voters in Pennsylvania, and given the gubernatorial election, Governor Corbett seems likely to sign an increase that gets to his desk," the center said.

According to figures from the Economic Policy Institute, raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would benefit 84 percent of adult workers age 20 and older, 81 percent of workers who work 20 or more hours per week, 25 percent of workers with children and 500,000 children.

The center said a minimum wage increase would not curb job growth, pointing to data that showed that in the 14 states that have raised the minimum wage, job growth was faster after the increase than the pace of job growth in Pennsylvania since the start of recovery.

"A minimum wage increase would not hurt job growth but would strike a significant blow to the state's runaway income inequality, lifting the wages of workers who live and work in every corner of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania," the center said.