Last week, the state Department of Labor and Industry published its “2021 Minimum Wage Report” and PA Chamber President Gene Barr issued the following statement:
“For years, advocates have politicized the minimum wage issue, touting it as the panacea to helping low-income Pennsylvania families out of poverty. However, the state Department of Labor and Industry’s 2021 Minimum Wage Report reveals important data that demonstrates why focusing on this policy is misguided. According to the report, 84 percent of minimum wage earners have no children; 34 percent have family incomes of $75,000, with 22 percent over $100,000; and nearly 70 percent are younger than 25 years old.
“Lawmakers should focus on developing thoughtful public policies that target assistance to low-income families and don’t risk negative impact on jobs. We continually hear from our broad-based membership – particularly small businesses – that these mandates have real-world consequences for both the employer and their workforce. A recent study by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found that an increase to $15 an hour would lead to the loss of 1.4 million jobs nationwide, around 500,000 more than the number of people the CBO projects will be helped out of poverty.
“The current proposal on the table would be especially difficult for restaurants, many of whom are barely surviving after business shutdown orders and capacity restrictions. The proposed elimination of the tipped wage system means many would somehow have to manage a roughly 240 percent increase in labor costs in just a few months. Advocates for this proposal are either disconnected from reality or indifferent to the plight of these struggling small business owners and their workers.
“No one disputes that some individuals benefit from mandated wage increases; but the fact is, others end up being hurt – including some of the very people advocates claim they want to help. We are urging lawmakers to put political differences aside and focus on alternative proposals that help struggling families and Pennsylvania’s small businesses.”