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HARRISBURG, Pa. (Erie News Now) — A Pennsylvania Republican state Senator has announced he will be introducing legislation to increase the commonwealth’s minimum wage.
Senator Dan Laughlin (R-Erie) wants to gradually raise the wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour by 2026, starting with an increase to $11 an hour by Jan. 2024.
“I have heard from my constituents and have listened to both sides of the political aisle. Pennsylvania has not seen the minimum wage increase since it was hiked at the federal level in 2009. On average, a worker who earns minimum wage will only earn $15,000 per year. Due to the rising costs, workers are unable to pay for basic necessities and forced to rely on public assistance. It is time we address the issue and I believe this bill is the most responsible way to approach it,” said Laughlin in a press release today.
The proposal also seeks to set the tipped wage in Pennsylvania to 40-percent of the minimum wage.
According to Laughlin, the federal tipped minimum wage has been $2.13 per hour since 1991. Currently, 28 states have a higher tipped minimum wage rate above Pennsylvania’s current $2.83 per hour.
Laughlin’s bill would also permanently index the wage to inflation after 2026.
“What makes my bill a little bit different from some of these other bills is that I want to tie it to inflation going forward after we hit 15. That way, we don’t have to continue to revisit this issue every year,” said Laughlin in a recent conversation with WENY News. “We’ll start at eleven on January 1, 2024, and then bump it up two dollars an hour on January 1, 2025 and then go right to right to 15, January 1st, 2026. I think it’s a fairly aggressive path to 15, but still doable. I think we’ll have support in the House for that, obviously,” Laughlin added.
With a wage increase proposed in Governor Josh Shapiro’s budget and a Democratic-controlled House, Laughlin says there is more support for the raise now than in previous sessions. The only hurdle is building support among his own colleagues in the Republican-controlled Senate.
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