A look at the potential of minimum wage hikes

WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) Both the federal and pennsylvania minimum wage stand at $7.25 an hour. Lawmakers and elected officials are calling to almost double that.

Some people tell me the pandemic-stricken economy is on the rebound. Others think a minimum wage hike would be a tool to get it going in the right direction. What most people tell me from a political or academic standpoint is that it would have to be a measured and gradual approach.

In Washington, Democrats are urging the hike to help americans earn a fair wage.
Local blue lawmakers tell me it would help get people off of state and federal assistance, which would help budgets and different programs for all.

On the other side of the aisle comes a warning that inflating wages would destroy small business and further hike the cost of living we’ve seen rise over the years.

The chair of economics and finance for the University of Scranton, Jordan Petsas tells us it would need to be carefully planned, but he believes it would help more Americans and Pennsylvanians than it would hurt.

“I know some people don’t agree to do it because of the pandemic but this is one of the tools that we can use to get out of a recession,” said Petsas. “Raising the minimum wage is not an easy job but most of the economic analysis and reports show that this is going to be a positive effect on the economy.”

Talks continue on Capitol Hill about a federal minimum wage hike, some states have already committed to plans to get to 15 dollars an hour over the next couple of years. Pennsylvania’s talks are currently looking at the prospect of going from the current $7.25 to upwards of $9, $12 and eventually something closer to $15 over the course of several years.

While a Republican-majority General Assembly isn’t likely to support anything drastic, even Keystone Democrats tell us a potential hike would have to carefully put together, balanced and gradual because if not, there would be no time for the economy to adjust.

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