ShareThis Page
Pennsylvania GOP lawmaker opens door to minimum-wage deal | TribLIVE.com
Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania GOP lawmaker opens door to minimum-wage deal

Associated Press
801139_web1_AP19036671192619
AP
Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, R-Centre, speaks after Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf delivered his budget address for the 2019-20 fiscal year to a joint session of the Pennsylvania House and Senate in Harrisburg, Pa., Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019.

HARRISBURG — A top Republican lawmaker is opening the door to raising Pennsylvania’s minimum wage, but he also insisted Monday that Democrats lower their sights from a proposal by Gov. Tom Wolf that would give the state among the nation’s highest.

Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, R-Centre, would not define what he views as a reasonable increase, saying he is trying not to stake out a number that he “can’t negotiate from.”

But he also suggested there is enough built-in Republican support in the Senate for a modest increase to bring a bill to the floor if Republicans and Democrats can agree on a figure.

“I don’t think it’s a matter of vote collecting,” Corman said. “It’s a matter of arriving on a number that both the governor and the Senate Democrats can agree off of that we can too as well.”

Wolf, a Democrat, has sought a minimum wage increase every year he has been governor, but gained little traction in the Republican-controlled Legislature.

In January, Wolf issued a new proposal to raise Pennsylvania’s hourly minimum to $12 this year, making it one of the highest in the nation, with annual 50-cent increases to bring it to $15 an hour in 2025. The value of a $15 minimum wage in 2025 would be about $13 in today’s money, assuming an annual inflation rate of 2 percent.

Corman said that plan is not reasonable or worth discussing.

“I think if we can get down to a more modest increase that doesn’t put us out of lockstep with other states (then that’s) something we can talk about,” Corman said.

A Wolf spokesman said Monday that the governor believes his proposal is fair, but acknowledged that it is subject to negotiation with the Legislature.

Pennsylvania has been at the $7.25 federal minimum since 2009, while most states — including each Pennsylvania neighbor — has raised their minimums.

House Republican leadership is more circumspect about a minimum wage increase.

Still, Republicans are emerging from an election cycle in which they lost seats, primarily in Philadelphia’s moderate suburbs, and GOP leaders are being warned by members there that they will lose more seats in 2020 if they do not move to the middle on things like a minimum wage increase.

Raising the minimum wage tends to be popular in voter polls and Democrats are poised to use it in 2020 as an election-season weapon, as the Democratic party and its presidential candidates coalesce around a $15 minimum wage.

Corman suggested that some Democrats would rather use minimum wage as a campaign weapon against Republicans than compromise.

“It’s like anything else: do you want the issue or do you want it accomplished?” Corman said. “And if we want to get something accomplished, then I think there’s ways we can go about doing it.”

Categories: News | Pennsylvania | Top Stories
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.