EDITORIAL BOARD MEMO: Broad Support for Increasing the Minimum Wage in Pennsylvania


To: Editorial Page Editors, Editorial Board Members, Columnists, and Other Interested Parties

From: Mark Price, Labor Economist, Keystone Research Center

Date: May 10, 2018

Re: Broad Support for Increasing the Minimum Wage in Pennsylvania

A statewide poll commissioned by the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, a project of the Keystone Research Center, shows strong support in Pennsylvania for raising the minimum wage. The poll conducted in the first week of April found 56% of respondents supported increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour while simultaneously eliminating the state’s tipped minimum wage of $2.83. Support rose to 62% for raising the minimum wage to $12 an hour while also eliminating the tipped minimum wage. Even among moderate/liberal Republicans, there was 55% support for a $12 minimum wage. Conservative Republicans were the least likely to support raising the minimum wage to $12 (33% support) and $15 (22% support).

See the top-line survey results on minimum wage here.

In anticipation of a conversation about minimum wage legislation in Pennsylvania the Keystone Research Center is releasing factsheets for each Pennsylvania County, state Senate and House district as well as for each Congressional District on the number of workers affected by state and federal proposals to raise the minimum wage. We are providing these short primers detailing the number of workers affected by various proposals to raise the minimum wage as well as addressing frequently asked questions about the minimum wage.

The minimum wage has always impacted both entry level wages and many lower-wage jobs held by adults for a career. The problem is the minimum wage doesn’t buy what it used to, pulling down wages in both entry level and career jobs. In 1968, the minimum wage in Pennsylvania was set at just over half (51%) the value of the median wage ($1.60 compared to $3.15) for full-time full-year workers. The minimum wage in 2018 is less than 32% of median wage ($7.25 compared to $22.93) – its lowest point since the last time Pennsylvania raised the minimum wage in 2006. Workers impacted by minimum wage increases are more productive and better educated today than similar workers in the past.

In Pennsylvania 90% of the people impacted by a minimum wage increase to $15 are age 20 and older; strikingly 42% are over the age of 40. Of those teenagers that would be affected by a minimum wage increase in Pennsylvania, they currently bring home on average 31% of their family’s income. The jobs impacted by the minimum wage are an important source of income for many working families.

Our statewide poll shows strong public support in Pennsylvania for a higher minimum wage, and yet it has been more than a decade since the Pennsylvania General Assembly last raised the state minimum wage and nine years since Congress moved to raise the federal minimum wage.

Keep Up With All Of Our Work On The Minimum Wage by Visiting Our Issue Page: https://www.keystoneresearch.org/minimumwage2018

Click on the links below to bring up primers on the local impact of raising the minimum wage:

Statewide: https://www.keystoneresearch.org/sites/default/files/KRC_Pennsylvania_Mi...

County: http://bit.ly/PACountyMinWageFactSheets

Pennsylvania state Senate: http://bit.ly/PAMinWageFactSheetsBySD

Pennsylvania state House: http://bit.ly/PAMinWageFactSheetsByHD

Pennsylvania Congressional Districts: http://bit.ly/PACongDistrictMinWageFactSheets