State senators in Erie and Lehigh counties are proposing an increase in the state’s minimum wage. The two Republican lawmakers say their proposal will help people put more money in their pocket while not hurting the bottom line for small businesses; KDKA's Ross Guidotti reports.
- New at 5:00, state senators in Erie and Lehigh counties are proposing an increase in the state's minimum wage. The two Republican lawmakers say their proposal will help people put more money in their pockets while not hurting the bottom line for small businesses. Our Ross Guidotti spoke to one of those bill's sponsors. Ross?
ROSS GUIDOTTI: Yeah. It's Erie County state senator Dan Laughlin. He says his bill, as it stands, is a happy medium between those who do not want to see any increase in the minimum wage and others who want to see it as high as $15 an hour. It is a hot-button issue-- the minimum wage. For some, it's not nearly enough.
- You can't even pay rent on a minimum wage job nowadays.
ROSS GUIDOTTI: For others, it's a matter of, if you want to make more money, make yourself worth more.
DAVE GELOTTI: And you're not going to get more money unless you go get it, or you go better yourself, or you go learn something. I had to go learn something. I know a trade.
ROSS GUIDOTTI: A GOP-sponsored bill in the state senate may be a path to a happy medium.
DAN LAUGHLIN: You know, it's the right thing to do. It's the right approach. And it's both people and business-friendly.
ROSS GUIDOTTI: Erie County state senator Dan Laughlin is the co-sponsor of a bill that would see the PA minimum wage bumped from $7.25 an hour to $10 an hour. Those working on tips would get $2.38 an hour, or about 40% of the standard minimum wage. Plus--
DAN LAUGHLIN: This bill would actually tie it to the inflation index going forward. And in my opinion, that's been lacking all along.
ROSS GUIDOTTI: When it comes to our neighboring states and minimum wage, West Virginia is set at $8.75 an hour; Ohio, $8.80 an hour; Maryland, $11.75 an hour; and New York at $12.50 an hour. Laughlin says his proposal is slow and steady and won't cripple the business market already reeling from the impact of COVID-19. And, Laughlin says, $10 makes sense in another way.
DAN LAUGHLIN: If you go back a number of years and actually multiply out the $7.25 by the cost of living index that's gone up over the years, it puts you right about $10.
ROSS GUIDOTTI: All right. State senator Laughlin telling me, best case scenario, he doesn't see this bill getting passed for at least another one to two years. He believes that will give businesses more than enough time to adjust to the potential of an increase in minimum wage.
New at 6 o'clock, we mentioned a lot of business owners in that last story. We're going to talk to him and get his take on the potential of seeing an increase of minimum wage to $10 an hour. Please join us then. Reporting live in Westmoreland County, Ross Guidotti, KDKA News.