California lawmakers recently approved legislation to raise their state minimum wage to $10 an hour by 2015.
State Sen. Tina Tartaglione (D-Philadelpia) has introduced similar legislation that would increase Pennsylvania minimum wage from $7.25 to $9.00 an hour.
Senate Bill 858 would increase the minimum wage 50 cents this year, another 50 cents in 2014 and 75 cents in 2015. After that there would be annual cost-of-living increases. Tartaglione feels confident of the bill’s approval as it already has a dozen co-sponsors in the Senate, though none are Republicans.
A separate bill also being introduced by Tartaglione that would increase wages for workers who receive tips, a boost that Tartaglione says is overdue.
“Currently the tip wage is $2.38 an hour — has not been changed in 15 years," she said. "We would do a dollar immediately, a dollar next year, and by 2015 we would be doing 70 percent of the minimum wage which roughly comes out to $6.30 an hour.”
Tartaglione, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Labor and Industry Committee, has sponsored legislation to raise minimum wage in the past.
Tartaglione said she’s already seeing the impact of the bill before its approval.
“I got a kiss from one of the security guards, I said ‘hello’ and he says ‘thank you, thank you, you’re giving us a raise. You know what that means to my family? That 2 dollar raise an hour, that makes a big difference on what I can and cannot buy for my family.'”
This year at least 10 other states have chosen to raise their minimum wage, while legislation for a federal increase has been introduced to the Senate.