CONTACT: Nicole Reigelman
House Democratic Communications Office
Phone: 717-787-7895
Fax: 717-783-6839

State Rep. Mark Cohen



Cohen introduces legislation to strengthen buying power of Pa. minimum wage


HARRISBURG, Feb. 8 – After achieving a huge victory for the working men and women of Pennsylvania in 2006, state Rep. Mark Cohen, D-Phila., said on Thursday that research indicates the state minimum wage is still insufficient due to inflation.


Cohen, who led efforts in the General Assembly last year to increase the state’s minimum wage, said the wage needs to be raised beyond the $7.15 an hour that it is set to reach in July in order to keep low-wage earners above the poverty line.


“Increasing the minimum wage from the paltry $5.15 an hour that it had been for 10 years was the first step in achieving a wage that allows for dignity and not poverty,” Cohen said. “But keeping the minimum wage stagnant doesn’t allow for price increases; we need to implement a strategy that allows the wage to increase with regional inflation standards.


“In addition, establishing a fair and livable wage would be encouraging people to work.”


Cohen’s plan would raise the minimum wage to $8.15 in 2008, $8.75 in 2009 and $9.35 in 2010. In 2011 and thereafter, his legislation would provide for small adjustments based on the regional consumer price index.


Cohen said he introduced an identical bill in the last session after the initial wage hike passed and received strong support from fellow House Democrats.