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Push for minimum wage hike gets another boost

Written by Ben Allen and Radio Pennsylvania | May 26, 2015 5:15 AM
fastfoodprotests_miami.jpg

Photo by AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

Protestors march in support of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour as part of an expanding national movement known as Fight for 15, Wednesday, April 15, 2015, in Miami.

(Harrisburg) -- The state faces an estimated budget deficit of between $1.5 and $2 billion.

Lawmakers will only have 30 days to meet the budget deadline when they return from their spring recess June first.

But some are pushing their pet issues now.

Discussions around the state's minimum wage picked up last session, and a senator from Philadelphia is trying to make sure the issue remains top of mind.

Democrat Arthur Haywood is going on the offensive, arguing any who are earning minimum wage also have to rely on public assistance because they live near the federal poverty line.

The gross paycheck for someone working 40 hours a week with no vacation is about $15,000 a year.

He says the rhetoric about pulling yourself up through hard work doesn't line up with reality for many workers.

"Then we say you can do that for $7.25. Doesn't match up. So we're gonna tell people go out and get a job, build a life, they gotta build a life on a wage that's sustainable. That's at least $10.10," Haywood says.

Haywood says he's confronted lobbyists for the business world when they argue a minimum wage hike would cost some workers their jobs.

"How many jobs were lost the last time the minimum wage went up? What did he say? I dunno. So they're so certain that we're gonna lose jobs this time, yet they have no evidence we lost jobs last time," he adds.

However, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office determined raising the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour nationally would likely mean a loss of some jobs.

It says the decrease could be very slight, or could also reach as many as one million jobs across the country.

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