Abington, PA – August 18, 2017 – Senator Art Haywood (D – Philadelphia/Montgomery) yesterday convened leadership from local advocacy groups to urge state legislators to raise the minimum wage in light of ongoing budget delays.
“With a revenue package not yet approved, the legislature still has an opportunity to include a raise to Pennsylvania’s minimum wage,” said Haywood. “I voted no on the Senate package because it didn’t raise the wage, but it did raise taxes on hard-working Pennsylvanians.”
Senator Haywood was joined by Philadelphia Unemployment Project, WageChange, POWER Interfaith, Raise the Wage and UFCW 1776 at the Abginton Township Municipal Building. Leaders took turns speaking about the effect a raise in the minimum wage would have on their members and the commonwealth as a whole.
“On behalf of many small business owners, we support a higher wage,” said Kenneth Weinstein, Executive Director of WageChange and proprietor of several businesses in Germantown. “[A raised wage] puts more money in the pockets of our employees, increases the sales of local businesses, strengthens the overall economy, and contrary to popular belief, it will not cost jobs.”
“We have become a much more productive nation,” said Reverend Gregory Holston, Executive Director of POWER. “If you put in productivity increases with inflation increases, $2 in 1963 is closer to $22.49 today, which is what a living wage in Philadelphia would be today for a family of three. We have as a nation much wealth and if we had just kept up with inflation and productivity, our wages would be much higher and I believe our nation would be much better.”
The last raise in the minimum wage was a decade ago. In the time since, it’s estimated that amount has lost nearly 10 percent of its purchasing power. Prior to an incremental increase in 2007, the wage had been stagnant for a decade. Tipped wage, which most restaurant workers earn, has been less than $3 for 26 years.
According to statistics from the Keystone Research Center, raising the wage to at least $10.10 an hour would bring $40 million in additional revenue to Pennsylvania. Nearly 200,000 people in Montgomery and Philadelphia counties would receive raises. Raising it to $12 an hour would generate more than $231 million in savings from Medicaid.
Senator Haywood has supported raising the minimum wage since entering office in 2014. He will continue to work with his fellow legislators, advocacy groups and citizens to further the issue.