State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

House Democrats return to lobbying for minimum wage hike

Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | Jan 30, 2017 9:10 PM
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A panel of House Democrats heard testimony from various Pennsylvanians about the impact a wage increase would have on them. (Photo by Katie Meyer/WITF)

(Harrisburg) -- State House Democrats are preparing to haul one of the party's perennial issues back into the spotlight. 

After holding a hearing on raising the minimum wage, members of the Democratic Policy Committee are preparing to introduce new legislation.

At $7.25 per hour, Pennsylvania's wage is the federal minimum, and it's lower than most other northeastern states.

Representative Patty Kim of Dauphin County said she thinks a hike would be a boon to the commonwealth's stagnant economy.

"Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Ohio all have a higher minimum wage, but they also have a lower unemployment rate," she said.

Kim plans to introduce legislation to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour over the next six years.

She and other Democrats on the committee acknowledge it will be tough to get the measure through the GOP-controlled General Assembly.

Representative Mike Sturla of Lancaster County has chaired the House Democratic Policy Committee for nearly a decade. As far as he's concerned, the plan now is the same as it's always been.

"We're going to keep raising this issue until the republicans do something about it," he said.

He added, he does have some hope this year.

"The last time we got a minimum wage increase was when the republicans controlled the House and the Senate," he said. "Part of that I think gets down, finally, to the notion that there are enough people in everyone's district that say, this has to happen."

Similar wage increases have been attempted several times in recent years, but have not gained much traction.

Published in News, State House Sound Bites

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