Pennsylvania State Senator Introduces New Bill That Would Raise the Minimum Wage From $7.25 to $20 -
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Pennsylvania State Senator Introduces New Bill That Would Raise the Minimum Wage From $7.25 to $20

A Pennsylvania state senator introduced a bill to raise the state’s minimum wage to $20, which would be the highest in the country.

Democrat State Senator Christine Tartaglione introduced Senate Bill 1186 (SB 1186), aiming to boost Pennsylvania’s minimum wage from the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 to $20.

Tartaglione criticized the “current minimum wage of $7.25” as being “inadequate” amid high inflation rates.

According to a press release from May, SB 1186 proposes raising the minimum wage to $20 by July 1, 2024.

As of now, Washington, DC, boasts the highest minimum wage in the nation at $17 per hour, followed closely by Washington state at $16.28. California ranks third with a minimum wage of $16 per hour.

“The current minimum wage of $7.25 is inadequate and, in the midst of inflationary pressure, it is immoral to continue with this baseline rate of pay,” Tartaglione wrote in a memo from June 2023. “In 2022, 63,000 Pennsylvanians survived on the bare minimum and an additional 417,000 Pennsylvanians relied on hourly wages between $7.26 and $12.”

Tartaglione emphasized that individuals working full-time in “childcare, home health, retail,” and in the hospitality industry while only making minimum wage “only earn $15,080/year.”

“These are some of the most fundamental jobs in our Commonwealth, yet the compensation for the hard work done by minimum and near-minimum wage earns is not sufficient to afford basic necessities such as rent, transportation, food, and prescriptions,” she said. “Many are forced to rely on public assistance to get by.”

Pennsylvania’s minimum wage has rested at $7.25 since 2006 when former Gov. Rendell (D) approved an increase of the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.15.

Following the federal government’s increase of the minimum wage to $7.25 in 2009, Pennsylvania also made a slight adjustment to its minimum wage.

Tartaglione added in an April memo that after “two decades of inaction,” even a $15 minimum wage is “no longer adequate.”

According to the Living Wage Calculator from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the poverty wage in Pennsylvania, as per the Department of Health and Human Services guidelines, is $7.24.

One adult with no children in the state would need a living wage of $21.95 in order to survive, while two adults with no children and one person working would need a living wage of $30.67. A living wage for two adults working with no children would be $15.33, according to the data.

“You shouldn’t have to work four or five jobs in order to be able to put food on the table and pay rent or have to make a choice,” Tartaglione said in a statement.

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