by Sean Kitchen, Raging Chicken Press, March 15, 2016
With the start of the 2016 budget season underway, raising the minimum wage has taken center stage. Governor Wolf touched raising the minimum wage during his blistering budget address to the General Assembly. He then signed an executive order raising the minimum wage for all state workers to $10.15 an hour, and then went on a statewide tour advocating for minimum wage increases. These gestures raised wages for roughly 450 state employees and sparked dialogue on an issue it that has not received a lot of legislative action.
A number of bills calling for increasing the wage were introduced in the House and Senate at the beginning of the 2015-2016 legislative session, but the issue has seen little action since the Senate Labor and Industry Committee hearing held last May. After Governor Wolf announced the wage increases for all state workers, Steven Miskin, top spokesman for House Republican leadership, told the Post Gazette that the “minimum wage is and was intended as a ‘starting’ wage or ‘training’ wage.” and that “it is and was never meant to serve as a ‘living’ wage.”
One of the main organizations opposing a minimum wage increase is the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association, a trade organization that lobbies for the hospitality and tourism industry. The PRLA held their 28th annual lobby day on the hill, and hundreds of lobbyists and members from the organization descended onto the capitol….
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