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Smart Talk: Minimum wage debate heats up

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What to look for on Smart Talk Wednesday, February 11, 2015:

The federal minimum wage was signed into law by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1938.  The first minimum wage was 25 cents an hour.  Even then it was controversial.

Adjusting for inflation, in today’s dollars, the minimum wage would be just over $4 an hour.

The federal and Pennsylvania’s minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.   Pennsylvania’s minimum wage hasn’t changed since 2009.  There are 29 other states with higher minimum wages.

Supporters of raising the minimum wage rallied at the state capitol in Harrisburg this week vowing an all-out push to increase the minimum to $10.10 an hour.  

Those who want to increase the minimum wage say it currently is not enough to live or raise a family on.  They add that it would also put more money back into a recovering economy by giving low-income earners more money to spend.

Opponents counter that forcing employers to pay workers more would cost jobs.  They say better and more job training would help workers get the skills they need to compete for higher paying jobs.

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Suzanne Collins and Mark Price

We’ll delve into the minimum wage issue on Wednesday’s Smart Talk with Suzanne Collins, the Communications Director for the National Federation of Indpendent Business in Pennsylvania and Dr. Mark Price, an economist with the Keystone Research Center. 

For more information on the topics mentioned during the show:

Keystone Research’s article “Stuck on the Bottom Rung of the Wage Ladder” and current research on the minimum wage.

The National Federation of Independent Business Research Foundation’s study on three minimum wage bills in the PA legislature last year.

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