Our opinion: What to consider with minimum wage

At least one Republican in the state House of Representatives is signaling a willingness to debate on a minimum wage increase.

State Sen. Dan Laughlin, R-Erie, is preparing to introduce legislation to increase Pennsylvania’s minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10 per hour. Laughlin’s bill would also increase the tipped wage to 50% of the minimum wage, raising it from $2.83 to $5 per hour.

Democrats, on the other, hand, have introduced legislation that would increase the minimum wage to $12 an hour starting July 1; $12.50 an hour starting July 1, 2022; $13 an hour starting July 1, 2023; $13.50 on July 1, 2024; $14 an hour starting July 1, 2025; and finally reaching $15 an hour starting July 1, 2027. After then, the rate would be adjusted annually based on the Consumer Price Index.

Laughlin’s proposal makes more sense for businesses re-emerging from the losses of COVID-19, but perhaps Pennsylvania can borrow an idea from New York state. In New York, areas with bigger populations and higher costs of living have a higher minimum wage than rural areas. Perhaps a regional minimum wage is a starting point toward a reasonable wage floor that is acceptable to both workers and businesses.


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