Patty Kim to reintroduce minimum-wage increase bill

HARRISBURG, Feb. 9 – State Rep. Patty Kim, D-Dauphin, announced she is reintroducing her legislation to increase the state’s minimum wage, which would help struggling families pay their bills and reduce their reliance on government assistance programs.

“According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 14 percent of Pennsylvanians are living in poverty,” Kim said. “Now is the time to start making Pennsylvania’s working families our top priority by increasing their wages.”

Kim announced the reintroduction of the legislation, H.B.250, during a daylong event advocating for a minimum-wage increase hosted by the Raise the Wage Coalition, a statewide alliance of worker, religious, community, women’s and labor groups.

Kim’s bill would increase the minimum wage from the current $7.25 per hour to $9 per hour and then to $10.10 per hour a year later.

Increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour would boost the earnings of a full-time worker by more than $5,900 to $21,008. For a single mother with two children who works 40 hours per week, this would get her family above the poverty line, which is $19,790 for a household of three.

Currently, someone earning minimum wage who works 40 hours per week only makes $15,080, which is more than $4,700 below the poverty line, requiring many people to use government assistance programs just to get by.

House Bill 250 also includes an annual cost-of-living adjustment, which would be the same rate that all state lawmakers receive annually.

“State legislators who enjoy an annual automatic pay increase now have the power to give this same benefit to low-wage workers,” Kim said.

Kim said that when she introduced her previous minimum-wage bill in November 2013, only 10 states had increased their minimum wage but as of today, 29 states plus Washington D.C. have adopted an increase.

“Despite dire warnings from opponents, the increase has not negatively impacted those states," Kim said. “All that happened was that hardworking people received a well-deserved raise.”

State House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody, D-Allegheny/Westmoreland, said Kim’s bill is a top priority of the House Democratic Caucus.

“House Democrats have been leading the effort to give Pennsylvania’s low-wage workers a long-overdue increase,” Dermody said. “Thousands of workers in Pennsylvania must pay the bills and raise their families while earning minimum wage. Representative Kim’s bill is not just symbolic; it provides a full-time wage that would help many families out of poverty and help to kick-start our state’s economy.”

Democratic Whip Mike Hanna, D-Clinton/Centre, noting that the last minimum wage increase adopted  Pennsylvania occurred in 2007, said low-wage workers across the state have waited too long for a raise.

“It is time for the General Assembly to take action and increase the minimum wage,” Hanna said. Representative Kim’s bill, H.B. 250, which will be introduced on Wednesday, will empower working Pennsylvanians to fully participate and contribute to our economy.”