Family Budget Data Offered as Argument for PA Minimum Wage Hike
Monday, August 31, 2015
HARRISBURG, Pa. – As bills to increase the minimum wage languish in Harrisburg, new information is being offered showing people earning the minimum don't come close to a secure standard of living.
The statistics, compiled by the Washington-based Economic Policy Institute, were released late last week. They show what a modest family budget looks like in 18 regions across the state.
Mark Price, a labor economist at the Keystone Research Center, says the numbers show minimum wage workers need a raise.
"When you add all the numbers up, there are a lot of families in Pennsylvania that don't earn enough to really live the comfortable, adequate lifestyle," he points out.
The minimum wage in Pennsylvania is $7.25 an hour, same as the federal minimum, which hasn't been raised since 2009.
According to Price, a full-time job at minimum wage brings in $15,000 a year, far short of what the institute finds necessary for meeting basic needs for a single adult, even in rural areas where the cost of living is slightly lower. Price says a rural adult would need almost twice the income provided by the minimum wage.
"Our estimate is that it's roughly $27,000 a year, and that includes expenses for food, transportation, housing, health care and other basic needs," he explains.
In urban areas, he says the number for a single adult's basic needs climbs to $33,000, and for a two-parent family with children it's more than $52,000.
Advocates are calling for a minimum wage of $15 an hour. And though it sounds like a lot more money, Price says it's not really a raise.
"We're not talking about raising the minimum wage above what it used to be,” he stresses. “We're really just trying to get it back to where it used to be. We're trying to restore the purchasing power that people have lost over time."
Gov. Tom Wolf has endorsed bills that would raise the wage to $10.10 an hour. A Republican bill would increase it to $8.75, but there's been no action on either proposal.
Price says the longer the budget impasse goes on in Harrisburg, the less likely there will be any minimum wage increase.
get more stories like this via email
A new study found gas flaring in oil-producing states like North Dakota is not as effective in limiting harmful emissions when compared to long-standi…
Community and technical college faculty members are preparing for the legislative session in Olympia, and among the top priorities for the American …
The Holyoke area is home to many Puerto Rican families who say they will do what they can to help people there as they recover from the latest hurrica…
On the heels of a regional conference, multiple groups are working on new solutions for reducing the poverty gap in Minnesota. Nonprofits, …
The pandemic took a toll on the nursing profession, resulting in shortages across the nation and especially Texas, ranked the second-hardest-hit …
Most criminal offenses can be annulled except for violent crimes and those involving obstruction of government administration. An upcoming legal …
Advocates for a man wrongfully imprisoned for decades due to misconduct by a Durham Police detective and released in 2016, want the city to honor a …
Groups fighting hunger in California say untold suffering could be avoided if the policies championed at the latest White House conference are put int…