Governor Tom Wolf has proposed raising Pennsylvania’s minimum wage to $12 an hour. But a headline two weeks ago in the Gettysburg Times told us that “Local legislators oppose minimum wage hike.” According to the article, “Minimum wage workers in Pennsylvania will be waiting a bit longer for their first raise in more than a decade. State senators overwhelmingly approved a plan late Wednesday to hike the state’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $9.50 over two years. However, Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives tabled that measure until it reconvenes on December 16 or beyond. The minimum wage bill is not on that chamber’s already published agenda for that date.”

Over the last 45 years, minimum-wage workers have not shared the benefits of a growing economy. As productivity has increased and the economy has expanded, businesses’ ability to generate income and raise overall living standards has grown dramatically. Unfortunately, the minimum wage has been allowed to stagnate – its value has fallen 30% since 1980 – keeping the lowest-paid workers from sharing in this increased prosperity. Raising the minimum wage would help reverse the ongoing erosion of wages that has contributed significantly to growing income inequality. (Another factor is declining union membership – but that’s a subject for another column.)

Mark Berg is a community activist in Adams County and a proud Liberal. His email address is MABerg175@Comcast.net.

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