LETTER: Wagner minimum wage pitch a politcal play
February 4, 2015
Republican state Sen. Scott Wagner has introduced legislation to slightly raise the minimum wage. Surprised that a wealthy businessman closely connected to the powerful business lobby would call for raising wages of lower income workers? Don't be. This is another example of Wagner playing politics. In this case, he's playing with the lives and incomes of nearly 1 million Pennsylvania workers.
Wagner proposes to raise the state's $7.25 minimum wage by 50 cents a year over three years to $8.75. This is his calculated and cynical response to the growing bipartisan support for raising the wage floor to $10.10, which would give 1 million workers in Pennsylvania a raise and boost our economy.
So who are these workers? Mr. Wagner suggested during a speech in the state Senate last June that they're essentially drug-addicted, lazy people who wear their pants too low and spend their time at work texting with friends. The truth is they're adults — more than 80 percent are 20 years old or older and and more than half of them are women — working hard to support themselves and their families.
The facts are clear; the demeaning stereotypes are offensive and add nothing constructive to the dialogue. When people earn a few more dollars for their hard work, they spend it in their local community. Small and large businesses benefit, which helps communities to thrive.
That's why 61 percent of small business employers support raising the national minimum wage to $10.10 and then adjusting it annually to keep pace with inflation. This is according to a scientific poll for the Business for a Fair Minimum Wage and the American Sustainable Business Council.
We need to put politics aside and do what's right for the people of Pennsylvania. That begins with a responsible increase in the minimum wage to $10.10.
Democratic Party of York County