Supporters of minimum wage hike rally at Capitol

Most people get a raise every year or two to keep up with inflation, but minimum wage workers have not received an increase since 2010.

People rallied Thursday at the state Capitol to change that.

State Representative Patty Kim (D-Harrisburg) has a bill that would raise the minimum wage.

Supporters rallied and said people cannot survive on $7.25; something Tim Nickle knows all too well. He makes minimum wage working at Subway.

“Everything’s tight. Everything’s on a budget. I live from one paycheck to another,” Nickle said.

Kim said that is not fair and is proposing to increase minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10.

“Let’s encourage self-reliance and financial independence. Increasing the minimum wage will do that and save the state money,” Kim said.

A report by the Keystone Research Center said about one million people across Pennsylvania and 100,000 people in the Midstate would benefit from Kim’s proposal; Midstaters like Imani Woodyard who make minimum wage working at Hollister.

“We fold clothes, stand, work six-hour shifts, and I don’t think the pay reflects the quality of work we do,” Woodyard said.

Some economists are also in favor.

“Several decades of careful research on the impact of state level minimum wage increases has shown that it’s possible to make modest improvements in the purchasing power of minimum wage without creating job loss among low wage workers,” said Dr. Mark Price, an economist with Keystone Research Center.

But there are plenty of opponents.

“The Congressional Budget Office, an independent organization, has said half a million to a million job loss as a result of a higher minimum wage increase,” said Gene Barr, President and CEO of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce.

Critics say a minimum wage increase will be bad for small business owners, forcing them to forgo hiring or layoff workers.

Some people said raising the minimum wage will also keep teenagers from entering the workforce.

There is talk around the Capitol that Republican lawmakers may propose an increase of their own, but below $10.10 an hour.

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