CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — The call to increase Pennsylvania’s minimum wage could be heard in Centre County on Tuesday. Rallying in State College, local government and religious leaders, alongside activists, advocated for the $7.25 hour wage to be raised for the first time in 15 years.
The group said they’d like to see the minimum wage reach $15 an hour, but even so, said that’s not livable.
“A livable wage is what we’re reaching for, but we’re starting at the minimum,” said Tierra Williams, creator of the show ‘Black Tea’.
Philadelphia Senator Art Haywood (D) said there’s three aspects to raising the minimum wage: dignity, fairness, and respect.
“If you pay people they will be out of poverty,” said Haywood. “$15 an hour, $18 an hour, you can pay out of poverty.”
Opposing parties are concerned raising the minimum wage would lead to inflation.
“Inflations going up no matter [what],” said Haywood.
Another concern of raising the wage is potential job loss. Today’s speakers said studies prove the two are not connected.
“The data and the analysis from places that have raised the minimum wage over and over again, show that it has no impact on the impact of job growth or job creation,” said Gopal Balachandran, a professor at Penn State University. “What it does is it enables people to have beneficial, happier lives.”
“The truth is, you know who creates jobs and economic activity in our community? It’s working people who get paid a living wage, a wage that’s more than living, a wage that allows them to live a dignified and happy life and go out into the community and spend that money on food, and on clothing, and on school, and on books,” said Ezra Nanes, mayoral candidate for the State College Borough.
Senator Haywood said raising the minimum wage would take about 20 months to pass.