Each neighboring state has a higher minimum wage than Pennsylvania, despite some having weaker economies. Pennsylvania’s $7.25 minimum wage is the lowest in the Northeast.
There’s bipartisan consensus for raising the minimum wage, but disagreement over how much. Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner proposes increasing to $8.75 an hour. Gov. Tom Wolf wants to go up to $12 an hour.
With housing costs in parts of Pittsburgh and the state rising fairly quickly, public support for a $15 minimum wage is following. Bills have been introduced in the state legislature raising the wage to $12 immediately, then to $15 by 2024. Those bills are co-sponsored by half of state Senate Democrats and about 80 percent of state House Democrats.
No Republican state legislators support an increase to $15 an hour.
So, flipping both chambers or coming close enough to pressure Republicans in moderate districts — as well as re-electing Gov. Wolf — may be necessary for this bill to become law.
Champions: Most Allegheny County Democratic legislators.
Opponents: All Allegheny County Republican legislators
Integral candidates: Lindsey Williams (D-West View), Betsy Monroe (D-Fox Chapel), Emily Skopov (D-Marshall), Michele Knoll (D-Ohio Township), support the minimum wage increase and are running in GOP-held districts
“Pennsylvania’s done nothing,” said then Pittsburgh City Councilor Dan Gilman in 2017 of failure to raise the minimum wage. “We aren’t competitive. It stifles innovation. It hurts small business and it hurts the core of our communities.”
By the Numbers: 2009 marks the last time Pennsylvania raised its minimum wage, thanks to a federal increase.