|By Rep. Torren Ecker (R-Adams/Cumberland)
The House of Representatives, which is now controlled by a one-vote Democratic majority, recently passed a bill that would increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour. I was not supportive of this initiative, as I have been a long believer in allowing the free market to determine appropriate wages.
As we have seen in the past, private businesses have been increasing wages to attract good workers. In fact, the number of people making minimum wage has decreased over the years. Between 2012 and 2022, the number of workers at or below minimum wage fell by 43,000, or 40.4%.
When looking at the makeup of minimum wage earners, one misconception is that all of them are either single parents raising children or individuals coming from low socioeconomic households. In reality, 93% of these employees have zero children and a considerable amount of minimum wage earners come from middle- and upper-class families.
According to the Independent Fiscal Office study, an increase to just $12 an hour would cause consumers to cover 65% of the added costs. Coupled with skyrocketing inflation, the bill would greatly decrease consumers’ spending power. On top of that, Pennsylvania would lose as many as 143,000 jobs.
We should be focusing on removing barriers to gainful employment opportunities.
Let’s invest in our current and future workforce by putting our support behind career and technical education so we can get people into family-sustaining jobs and close the skills gap we’re currently facing.
Representative Torren Ecker
193rd Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Greg Gross