PA Senator Attempts to Introduce Highest Minimum Wage Legislation Ever

( – A Democrat Pennsylvania state Senator last Tuesday introduced legislation to increase the state’s minimum wage to $20 an hour, which would make Pennsylvania’s minimum wage the highest in the nation.

In a press release announcing her new bill, state Senator Christine Tartaglione said the current minimum wage of $7.25 an hour was “the very definition of a poverty-level wage.”

Tartaglione’s SB-1186 would create what she described as a “living wage” of $20 per hour for all workers in the state effective July 1. Under the measure, cost-of-living increases to the minimum wage would occur every five years.

The bill would also set tipped wages to 70 percent of the new minimum wage, which would prevent restaurants from paying a pittance to waitstaff who earn the bulk of their money in tips.

Tartaglione described the current $7.25 minimum wage as “immoral and unjustifiable” and argued that raising the minimum wage to $20 would lift workers out of poverty.

Some Pennsylvania lawmakers have supported raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour. However, Tartaglione argued that the $15 rate was “no longer a living wage.”

Currently, the highest minimum wage in the United States is in Washington, D.C. where workers are paid a minimum of $17 per hour. Washington state has the second-highest minimum wage of $16.28 per hour.

Last year, California enacted a $20 minimum wage for fast-food workers that went into effect on April 1.

Before the law took effect, some fast-food restaurants in the state began cutting back on staffing in anticipation of the increased labor costs. Others shut down many locations entirely, a trend that has continued in recent weeks.

In late May, a popular taco chain in the state closed 48 locations.

According to the California Business and Industrial Alliance (CABIA), nearly 10,000 California fast-food workers have lost their jobs since the wage hike.

In addition to laying off workers, California fast-food restaurants have also raised their prices to cover the cost of the increased wages.

Kalinowski Equity Research found that Starbucks raised its price for beverages at its California locations by 50 cents. Meanwhile, Taco Bell imposed a 3 percent hike in its menu prices in the state.

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