Governor Wolf spoke in Harrisburg, PA, today, asking Congress to approve his request for $2,000 stimulus checks and a path to a $15 an hour minimum wage.
According to a press release, Gov. Wolf and State Rep. Patty Kim called on fellow representatives to approve two controversial pieces of legislation. The first would give one-time stimulus checks to Pennsylvanians with household incomes of $80,000 or less to help deal with inflation. The funds would come from a $500 million PA Opportunity Program, part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
“I first introduced this plan four months ago,” said Gov. Wolf. “A lot has changed since then, from inflation to price increases to a war in Ukraine. Pennsylvanians need our support even more today than they did in February. Under my plan, Pennsylvania households earning $80,000 or less will get up to $2,000, and they can use the money for whatever they need.
Acclaimed by many, the bill is unlikely to pass as critics claim it will adversely affect the rapidly depreciating dollar and record-level inflations. Some PA legislators have also raised concerns that the funds may be better used to address failing infrastructure.
On April 30, 2022, PA Senator Devlin Robinson, told CBS News that many of his colleagues prefer to apply the funds to repairing infrastructure. “There’s better ways to spend the money. Out here in Pittsburgh, we have bridges falling around the city,” he said.
The second piece of legislation that Gov. Wolf has been heavily promoting is raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2028. According to the press release, the minimum wage would move to $12 per hour on July 1, 2022. Then it would increase $.50 per year annually until 2028. According to minimumwage.org, the PA minimum wage has been $7.25 since 2008.
“The price increases we’re seeing right now are especially painful because wages haven’t kept up with the rising cost of living for many years,” said Gov. Wolf. “This reality of unchanging wages and rising living costs has stretched the resources of working Pennsylvanians and their families to the limit, and with the recent dramatic price increases, beyond it. By sending ARPA dollars to Pennsylvanians and raising wages, we can help Pennsylvanians recovering from the pandemic get back on their feet and take the pressure of higher prices off of our commonwealth’s families.”
According to a 2021 report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), raising the minimum wage federally to $15 per hour would lift 900,000 workers out of poverty while simultaneously leading to an estimated 1.4 million jobs lost.
Read the full report here:
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