Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, R-Centre, at the Pennsylvania Press Club told listeners discussions over an immediate increase to $12 an hour with an eventual increase to $15 would be a non-starter in the Republican-controlled General Assembly.  That is the proposal laid out by Governor Tom Wolf.

However, he acknowledged the issue is heating up and that a conversation “needs to happen” in the coming months.  While he offered no specifics, he called on those who favor an increase to propose “a reasonable plan so we can move this forward.” 

Thus, it is clear that if Governor Wolf decides to negotiate, Pennsylvania’s minimum wage will increase.  However, if he would rather “have the issue” – meaning that he’d prefer to enable the Democratic House and Senate candidates next year campaign and criticize Republicans for not increasing the minimum wage – then it will stay the same.  In these matters only time will tell, but 3 states have already adopted schedules to get to $15 per hour.

Last week Democrats in the U.S. House and Senate rolled out a proposal (not a new law) to more than double the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2024. 

House Republican spokesman Mike Straub said that House Majority Leader, Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster, is open to discussion.  Gov. Wolf’s spokesman said the governor still believes that his minimum wage proposal is fair for workers, adding “every part of the budget is subject to negotiations with the legislature, and we would certainly welcome a discussion about the minimum wage.”

Because of inflation, the impact to recipients of the minimum wage has declined over the past half century.  In 1968, when the minimum wage was $1.60, it was worth the same as $11.79 in 2018 dollars, more than 60 percent above the current level.  This number is about half way between the current Federal minimum of $7.25 and the requested $15.

The Daily Dot reports a total of 30 states and Washington, D.C., already pay higher minimum wages than what is required under federal law.

A “Fight for $15” campaign is currently in several states.