For Immediate Release
January 30, 2019
Prior statewide wage mandates have increased labor costs and led to job loss
HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry President and CEO Gene Barr issued the following statement in response to a press conference by Gov. Tom Wolf calling for a government mandated minimum wage increase to $12 an hour in July with incremental increases to $15 and elimination of the tipped wage:
“The proposal put forth today by the governor and several lawmakers calls for employers, in just a few months, to increase entry level wages by more than 60 percent and for restaurants – many of whom already operate on thin profit margins – to increase by more than 235 percent and ultimately by more than 500 percent. The intentions behind this proposal may be good but it is simply disconnected from reality for many Pennsylvania employers.
“We continually hear from our broad-based membership – particularly small businesses – that these ‘feel good’ mandates have real-world consequences on both the employer and the people who work for them. Countless independent studies have shown that these policies lead to negative impacts on employment, including job loss. A Congressional Budget Office report found that an increase to $10.10 an hour would result in the loss of 500,000 to 1 million jobs nationwide and a state-specific report from the PA Independent Fiscal Office reached comparable conclusions. Going to $15 per hour will only exacerbate these impacts and those mostly likely to be harmed are the very low-income, lesser-skilled workers whom advocates claim they want to help.
“The fact is, while some will obviously benefit from a higher minimum wage; many will be harmed. It’s unfortunate to think that lawmakers would rather engage in the same old political battles, rather than work together to develop modern, smart policies that help struggling Pennsylvanians without hurting employers and risking job loss.
“The PA Chamber has long urged lawmakers to focus on helping individuals out of poverty through job training programs so they can fill vacancies and close the current skills gap. For Pennsylvanians who are currently struggling to raise families, there are simply more effective, targeted approaches to assist these individuals, such as implementing a state Earned Income Tax Credit to supplement the federal program; and even bringing more awareness to the federal program.”
The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is the state's largest broad-based business association, with its statewide membership comprising businesses of all sizes and across all industry sectors. The PA Chamber is The Statewide Voice of BusinessTM.