For Immediate Release
March 28, 2019
HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry President and CEO Gene Barr issued the following statement regarding the recent publication of the Pennsylvania Independent Fiscal Office’s analysis of a proposed minimum wage increase being pushed by the Wolf administration and certain lawmakers. The plan calls for a wage increase to $12 - a 65 percent increase – as early as July 1, with incremental increases to $15 in the years ahead. Additionally, the plan calls for elimination of the tipped wage – which means many employers like restaurants would have only a few months to comply with an immediate 235 percent increase in labor costs and an increase of over 500 percent in just a few years.
“The IFO estimates that a mandated increase to $12 would lead to most employees seeing a reduction in hours and the loss of 34,000 jobs throughout the Commonwealth – a number that is sure to continue rising in the subsequent years. Many of the individuals experiencing these negative consequences are the very people whom advocates claim they want to help.
“The IFO report also concludes that this proposal will result in a ‘more difficult entry into the labor market for inexperienced workers, especially part-time high school and college students.’ Policymakers and the public ought to be gravely concerned at the prospect of legislation that would lead to fewer employment opportunities for young Pennsylvanians, for whom these entry-level, part-time jobs are often where critical workplace and employability skills are acquired.
“We continually hear from small businesses that these ‘feel good’ mandates have real-world consequences for both the employer and their workforce. Once again, their anecdotal insight is backed by nonpartisan analysis – in this case the IFO, but previously by countless other independent studies. The Congressional Budget Office report estimated that an increase to $10.10 an hour would result in the loss of 500,000 jobs nationwide, and up to a million. An analysis by the University of Washington found that in Seattle, where the minimum wage was increased to $13 an hour, there has actually been a reduction in average take-home pay for low wage workers. These negative impacts would almost certainly be exacerbated if the rate is increased to $15 – as the administration’s plan calls for.
“Obviously some individuals benefit from mandated wage increases; but the fact is, many others would be harmed. We urge lawmakers and advocates to work in a bipartisan way to advance policies that help low-income families without risking jobs.”
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.