Governor Tom Wolf Pushes for $15 Minimum Wage

Tom Wolf, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Tom Wolf, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Joshua Thompson, Centurion Staff

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Pennsylvania may be getting a raise this July, as Governor Tom Wolf, has renewed his efforts to raise the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour to $15 an hour.
Wolf has proposed that the wage starts out at $12 an hour, and then increase it by 50 cents, reaching $15 an hour towards 2025. Wolf has tried to raise the wages before, but plans to move ahead were shot down.
The raising of the minimum wage isn’t something new, as reported by USA News, there has been a growing movement across the country. In 29 states, the minimum wage already surpasses the federal level, and other states like PA have promised to raise and reach the $15 wage goal in the future.
While this might sound like good news, not everyone is so sure that Wolf’s minimum wage plan will work at so well. Cinema/video major Avery White from Bensalem, wasn’t too thrilled with the possible minimum wage raise.
“I fear the unforeseen repercussions of a move like that,” White said. “When small businesses have to meet this new demand, and they can’t afford it, they’ll have to raise the prices of their product. Once that happens, small businesses will become more obsolete than they already are.”
Brian Deley, who felt that raising the wages to $15 was a bit too much, was on board with the idea of the wages raising in general.
“Large minimum wage increases (above 25 percent) of what the minimum wage already is almost always hurts the people we are trying to help. I would not personally be in support of raising the minimum wage to $15. I would however, find $10 or $11 more acceptable,” said Deley.
Like White, Bucks student Manny Jones, from Bensalem also agreed that Wolf’s agreement to raise the minimum wage would do more harm than good to small businesses in PA.
“Governor Wolf’s minimum wage raise would be a disastrous score to small businesses in the commonwealth,” stated Jones. “I do agree that the minimum wage raise that’s deep should be done more progressively and over a longer stretch of time. The governor’s plan would make the wage to go up to $12 by summer. This would be catastrophic for small businesses who can only afford $8 or $9 an hour. The governor is going about this all wrong.”
Economics Teacher Stephen Cocca gave his take on both the $15 wage, and how and why the wages in states are going up.
“Wages overall haven’t risen much in the last decade, but as of recently (3.1 percent wage growth in October) are finally growing. If people’s wages don’t grow, then inflation (prices for everything we purchase) eats away at our purchasing power, so everyday families can’t afford necessities like housing, food, etc.”
“So, I personally like to see minimum wage be raised close to the inflation rate (1.8 percent) so families can afford basic necessities. The trade-off and counter argument is that some businesses can’t afford to pay the higher wage and would need to lay people off, and this is true for some industries like farmers,” said Cocca.
Cocca added, “I believe raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour (doubling) may be too aggressive and would prefer a more gradual raise to minimize any negative impacts like layoffs or some businesses closing. I think $10 in the short term and maybe $15 in the longer term (5 years or so out).”
Nothing is set in stone yet, but by July we’ll find out whether or not Wolf’s plan to raise minimum wage is a go, or no, and for better or worse, if a lot of PA employees who get paid minimum wage will be seeing a pay raise.