More News:

March 07, 2016

Critics: Wolf's minimum wage raise for state employees 'symbolic gesture,' hurts economy

Governor calls for similar hike for all Pennsylvania workers

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf signed an executive order Monday to raise the minimum wage for state employees from $7.25 to $10.15, a move that peeved Republican lawmakers and some in the business community.

Wolf's announcement about the hike claims the purchasing power of workers being paid at the current rate is lower than it was in 1979.

He also calls on legislators to help him implement a similar raise for all employees in Pennsylvania, something he said would help 1.2 million workers. That request didn't sit well with Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre County).

“Outside of his two budget addresses, raising the minimum wage is not something the governor has emphasized as important during our ongoing conversations," Corman said in a statement.

"The sudden attention to the issue indicates the governor must have noticed that, during the last year, his accomplishments are limited at best," he added.

Pennsylvania has been enduring a now eight-month-long budget impasse between Wolf and the state legislature.

Media reports have noted that the Republican-controlled legislature has shown no indication it is willing to increase the minimum wage for all state residents.

Wolf's announcement includes a quote from John Traynor, the owner of the Harrisburg Midtown Arts Center, who supports increasing the minimum wage for all Pennsylvanians.

"Increasing the minimum wage will lead to greater employee retention, which reduces hiring and training costs, and increases productivity," Traynor said. "I know from experience that building a brand with loyal employees is the most important thing for customer satisfaction and long-term growth.”

The PA Chamber of Business and Industry expressed a different sentiment. They say the move will kill jobs and handicap employers.

In a statement, the organization said the more effective way to bring Pennsylvanians out of poverty was through skills training.

In addition to state employees, the order applies to certain state contractors. The minimum wage hike will go into effect for those who "directly perform services or construction" for the state.

According to PennLive, this doesn't apply to those contractors when they perform non-commonwealth work.

The raise is scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1, 2017.