I was shocked and greatly concerned to read John Finnerty’s article “Capitol standoff keeps wage boosts hanging” in The Meadville Tribune on Dec. 13. Mr. Finnerty documents that “Senate Bill 79, which passed by a vote of 42-7 in November, would boost the state’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $8 by July and to $9.50 by 2022.”
If my math is correct, that would reflect a 75 cent raise in July. Quite a modest increase I would say.
The problem is, however, that this miserly increase (did I mention that it amounts to only a 75 cent raise?), which would affect the incomes of hundreds of thousands of workers, is being held up by House Republicans. “State Rep. Garth Everett of Lycoming County said he’s not convinced the increase in the minimum wage is needed.” “The push to increase the minimum wage ‘may be a solution in search of a problem.’” Really? A solution in search of a problem?
This is striking language coming from a member of the state Legislature who makes $88,610 per year, the second highest legislative income in the nation. And this great compensation is for being in legislative session only 74 days in 2019.
Please remember that our Legislature actually voted themselves annual salary increases. Since 1995, that increase has been provided every year except two. The minimum wage has not been raised in a decade! Rep. Everett, there is a serious problem!
If our House of Representatives does not pass this legislation, it is as if they look down upon the working poor of the commonwealth while saying, “Let ‘em eat cake!” I suggest they all get back to work and pass the minimum wage bill.