Pennsylvanians need a raise


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To the Editor:

Last Tuesday, State Senator Lisa Baker posted pictures on her Twitter of a hearing on Veterans Housing and Homelessness she attended. However, the most important action she can take to support Pennsylvania's veterans is to allow a vote on minimum wage legislation in the Labor and Industry Committee she chairs.

Even if veterans are in perfect mental and physical health, jobs aren't paying enough to afford rent. A 2014 report by the Economic Policy Institute found that out of 10 million working veterans nationally, one million work at a wage below $10.10 per hour. Of those one million veterans nationwide, 40 percent are age 55 or older and almost two-thirds are age 40 or older. The report found that 59 percent of those veterans work full time.

Closer to home, the Keystone Research Center shows that in Pike County, an increase in the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour would boost the wages of 3,368, or 24.7 percent, of the county's resident workforce. In total, wages in Pike County would increase by $5.9 million. Low wage workers are the most likely consumers to spend their money on goods and services, giving a shot in the arm to local businesses.

Senator Baker has met with Raise the Wage PA, a statewide campaign to support a $10.10 minimum wage, but has fought against allowing a vote on any wage legislation in her committee.

All of the following wage-related bills are languishing on her desk and her desk phone number is 717-787-7428. Send her the message, "Pennsylvanians need a raise!"

SB846 raises the minimum wage (including tipped workers) to $15 per hour. Increases minimum wage with annual cost of living adjustment beginning 1 year after passage.

SB195 sets the minimum wage at $10.10 per hour for non-tipped workers.

SB196 sets the minimum tipped wage at 70 percent of the non-tipped minimum wage.

SB197 increases the minimum wage by cost of living adjustment.

SB198 provides for additional fines for wage theft. Increases record-keeping requirements for Dept. of Labor and Industry and for employers. Creates a Wage Enforcement Fund.

SB199 outlaws deduction of credit card fees from employee tips.

Alex Lotorto

Milford


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