State minimum wage
Greetings from our fair Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, historic home to the exploitative and environmentally destructive lumber, steel and coal robber barons that paid slave wages while much of the State. I hope this letter finds you and your families well and looking forward to this Holiday Season.
All people who work in Pennsylvania do so to make a living and have a life beyond work and be able to pay all their basic bills and live in peace in their own home. The current state minimum wage is ridiculously low at $7.25 an hour and has been stuck there for 13 years, since before the Great Recession.
The state minimum wage needs to increase to $10.35 an hour in 2020. This is a compromise or average increase. The Governor proposes raising the state’s minimum wage to $12 an hour in 2020 and I agree. Such an increase would help to make up for the loss of wages over 13 years when the minimum wage did not increase with the cost of living. The Republicans in the General Assembly propose a more modest increase of $9.25 an hour in 2020. I arrived at another figure of $9.81 an hour for 2020 by adjusting the current minimum wage of $7.25 an hour using the COLA’s for Social Security benefits for each year 2006 through 2020. Adding $12 an hour plus $9.25 an hour plus $9.81 an hour and dividing by three, I came up with a compromise state minimum wage for 2020 of $10.35 an hour, which is higher than what the state Legislature proposes but less than what the governor asks for. So for 2020, I sincerely believe that $10.35 an hour is what the state minimum wage should be increased to.
PA’s State minimum wage has never been adjusted annually to reflect increases in the cost of living due to inflation. For this reason I believe it is high time to have the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for Social Security benefits attached to our state minimum wage so that it is automatically increasing every year.
The National Living Wage is $15 an hour. Pennsylvania’s state minimum wage should be increased every year in increments by law over a period of years until in catches up to the National Living Wage at which time the COLA would be the only source of yearly increases.
I believe the above proposals for a new state minimum wage law are timely, fair and long overdue. Employers who howl “I can’t afford it” should not be in business. Pennsylvanians work to make a living and have a life and live in dignity in the their own home and eat their meals in peace. Pennsylvanians do not work to make someone else rich at their own expense, to suffer malnutrition and illness, to be worried sick and kept awake at night by past due bills and excessive debt or to be worked to death as they are now by having to work two or three jobs to make ends meet and, in too many cases, die trying.
Thank you for your kind and considerate attention to the above matters of no small importance in making working in Pennsylvania the same as “making a living” and stop the increase in adult mortality rate of the workforce ages 25 to 64.
Timothy J. Mullen
Submitted via email