December 26, 2014 - By Karen Shuey
By this time next week, 29 states will have minimum wages above the federal minimum of $7.25.
Pennsylvania is not one of them.
The Washington Post reported that residents in nine states will see the minimum wage rise automatically when Jan. 1 rolls around to keep wages in line with rising inflation. And in 11 states and D.C., the rise is the result of legislative action or voter-approved referenda.
Two more states — Delaware and Minnesota — will get hikes later in the year as the result of legislative action.
The minimum wage hikes will have a direct impact for 2.5 million workers who currently earn less per hour than the new minimum wage. The Economic Policy Institute estimates that an additional 1.9 million people would be affected indirectly.
The federal minimum wage has been stuck at $7.25 per hour since 2009. There has been a movement in Pennsylvania to raise wages here but legislative attempts fizzled.
During the last two-year session, which ended in November, there were two bills that would have increased the minimum wage in different ways.
One bill would have raised the wage in two steps: $9 an hour immediately and $10.10 an hour a year later. It would also have increased the minimum for tipped workers.
Another bill would have raised wages to $9 an hour, with subsequent increases every year tied to inflation.
The proposals drew the predicted response in Lancaster County: Most Democrats said such changes would reduce poverty and raise the spending power of the poorest workers, while business leaders and most Republicans said the changes would cost low-skilled workers jobs.