Smart Talk is a lively and thoughtful conversation on a wide range of issues and ideas relevant to Central Pennsylvanians.
What to look for on Smart Talk Wednesday, January 9, 2019:
It’s a new year and a renewed push is underway to increase the minimum wage in Pennsylvania. Governor Tom Wolf made this initiative a priority for his administration during his first term and as he begins a second term that is not changing.
The state minimum wage last increased in 2009 to match the federal wage of $7.25 an hour. In 2018, the Wolf administration proposed an increase to $12 an hour, which did not pass.
Proponents of Wolf’s plan say an increase will help low-wage workers keep up with the cost increase of food, rent and private transportation. Opponents say the bigger issue to address is the income and skills gap of the workers, neither of which are helped by raising the minimum wage.
An Independent Fiscal Office analysis acknowledges both sides of the debate; While more than one million workers will see higher wages, about 33,000 fewer jobs will result.