Harrisburg, PA – July 7, 2023 − Sunday, July 9th, marks seventeen years since Pennsylvania lawmakers last raised the minimum wage.
On July 9th, 2006, Governor Ed Rendell was joined by Senator Christine Tartaglione, Senator Vincent Hughes, and Senator Jay Costa, to sign Senate Bill 1090, Senator Tartaglione’s legislation that raised PA’s minimum wage to $7.15.
“When Senate Bill 1090 was signed into law in 2006, it was a promise to continue to fight for our Commonwealth’s lowest earners and ensure that the needs of Pennsylvanian’s lowest earners are never forgotten or cast aside,” said Senator Tartaglione. “I reintroduced Senate Bill 12 because I, like so many of my colleagues refuse to sit idly by as the Pennsylvanians that earn our poverty level minimum wage continue to struggle to make ends meet. Pennsylvania needs its government to act swiftly and decisively on behalf of our Commonwealth’s workers that need it most.”
Senate Democrats continue to support a higher minimum wage. In June, House Democrats passed a bill that would raise Pennsylvania’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2026. Senator Christine Tartaglione (D- Philadelphia) introduced Senate Bill 12, a similar bill.
“Pennsylvania is failing our workers,” said Senator Vincent Hughes (D-Phila./Montgomery). “For seventeen years now, Republican state lawmakers have done nothing to guarantee hard working people get paid fairly and adequately for contributions to our economy. I was proud to join Governor Rendell in 2006 to support pay that benefited workers and families. I hope to join Governor Shapiro one day to end seventeen years of inaction for minimum wage workers in Pennsylvania.”
Pennsylvania’s current minimum wage sits at the federal requirement of $7.25. According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Pennsylvania’s minimum wage is far from a livable wage in the state. The cost of housing and other living expenses has continued to rise while Pennsylvania’s minimum wage has remained stagnant for over a decade.
A minimum wage increase to $15 an hour would impact one million workers who are currently making less than $15 an hour in Pennsylvania.
“Everyone who works for a living deserves to earn a living wage, and the current minimum wage in PA is not one. It is long past time to do right by our working families and make sure we can raise our children on one good job,” said Senator Jay Costa (D-Allegheny). “I have been proud to champion a living wage for every Pennsylvanian, and I look forward to working alongside fellow legislators, workers, and activists to deliver on this crucial value.”
Senate Democrats stand ready to vote on the House bill, but Senate Republicans, who are in the majority, must bring it to the floor for a vote. Meanwhile, every state surrounding Pennsylvania has raised the minimum wage. New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, and Ohio, all pay a higher minimum wage. Pennsylvania is in last place when it comes to delivering for workers.
“Raising the minimum wage is critical to respecting the dignity of hardworking people so that they can afford housing and food, and so that they don’t have to choose between food, heat, clothing, and other basic needs,” said Senator Art Haywood (D-Phila./Montgomery), who has also been a fierce advocate for raising PA’s minimum wage.
He continued, “This is about helping parents and allowing them to be parents, no longer having to work two or three jobs and having greater freedom to provide their children with a better education, enrich their young ones with opportunities like recreational activities, be more active in their communities, and spend time with their families.”