A Pennsylvania lawmaker is pushing for legislation that would increase the state’s minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour over the next two years.
Under Senate Bill 1300, the minimum wage would jump to $8.20 an hour beginning July 1, 2014. On Jan. 1, 2015, wages would increase again to $9.50 an hour and then $10.10 an hour one year later.
The bill’s sponsor, State Sen. Tina Tartaglione (D-Philadelphia), said after that, it will be up to local governments to set the wage.
“Allow local governments to raise their own minimum wage to match their local economies,” she said, “so that areas with higher costs of living can increase the minimum wage if necessary.”
Tartaglione disputes claims that hiking the minimum wage will mean a cut in jobs.
“To the critics who say an increase in the minimum wage will hurt the economy: you are wrong,” she said. “Studies and history show that increases in the minimum have very little to no impact on the economy.”
Referencing a study released last week by the University of California-Berkley, Tartaglione said increases in the base hourly wage could drive up prices, but it also increases productivity and worker satisfaction.
The bill would also increase fines and penalties for companies that fail to recognize the law and would provide increased enforcement of the state’s minimum wage act, which establishes a fixed minimum wage and overtime pay.
The legislation would also raise the state’s tip wage from $2.83 an hour to 70 percent of the new minimum wage. Tartaglione said doing this is essential to getting a minimum wage bill passed in Pennsylvania.
“I do not support eliminating the tip wage,” she said. “Doing so would put undue financial stress on employers and hinder minimum wage legislation from any potential movement in the House or the Senate.
This isn’t the first minimum wage bill introduced by Tartaglione. Last April, the Senator pushed for legislation that would raise the minimum wage to $9 an hour. That bill is stuck in the Senate Labor and Industry Committee.