In Allentown on Wednesday, Labor Leaders, Representative Pete Schweyer and community members from the Raise the Wage Pennsylvania and the CLEAR Coalition gathered at the Lehigh County Government Center to demand the General Assembly raise the state’s minimum wage. Pennsylvania is surrounded by states that ALL have raised their minimum wage in recent years, while our Commonwealth has not seen a raise in more than a decade. Pennsylvania’s minimum wage remains at $7.25 an hour.
An increase in the state’s minimum wage to $15 per hour would boost the wages of 62,274, or 37.2%, of the county’s resident workforce. In total, wages in Lehigh County would increase by $265 million. In neighboring Northampton County, the same increase in the minimum wage to $15 per hour would boost the wages of 52,796, or 37.2%, of the county’s resident workforce and increase wages county-wide by $220 million. The increased wages would generate increased state revenue in the form of increased income tax collections and savings for taxpayers by moving citizens off assistance programs.
“Pennsylvanians continue to struggle to make ends meet, even when they work full-time. The basic cost for living keeps getting more expensive, and they should not have to rely on help from the government to get by,” said John Meyerson, Raise the Wage PA spokesman. “It’s time for the General Assembly to act.”
There is currently a proposal in the Pennsylvania Legislature to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2024. This wage increase would be phased in by steps, beginning with an increase to $12. After topping out at $15 per hour, the hourly wage would be tied to the consumer price index.