Blog: More Minimum Wage Momentum in WV and MD. Is PA Next?

Mark PriceCross posted at Third and State

An alliance of religious, labor, community, and women’s groups will kick off a campaign this afternoon to raise the minimum wage in Pennsylvania to at least $10.10 per hour. 

Raising the minimum wage has already gained momentum nationally and is likely to be a defining issue in Pennsylvania's gubernatorial election this year. It's also a policy issue where Pennsylvania is lagging well behind our neighboring states.

In January, the minimum wage rose to $8.25 an hour in New Jersey, $8 in New York, and $7.95 in Ohio. Meanwhile, in Delaware, Governor Jack Markell signed a bill raising his state's minimum wage to $7.75 an hour starting this June and then to $8.25 an hour in June 2015.

Not to be outdone, the Maryland House of Delegates voted on March 7 to raise their state minimum wage to $10.10 an hour over the next three years — a key priority of Governor Martin O'Malley. The bill awaits action in the Maryland Senate.

To cap things off, at the close of the West Virginia legislative session on March 9, lawmakers there approved a bill to raise the minimum wage over two years to $8.75 an hour. The bill is awaiting the signature of Governor Earle Ray Tomblin, who voiced support for an earlier version of the bill that raised the minimum wage over three years rather than two.

The lack of action in the Maryland Senate mean it’s not too late for the Pennsylvania House and Senate to avoid being two of the last three legislative chambers in the region to take no action whatsoever to boost the minimum wage.

Did I mention that a minimum wage increase is popular among Demcrats and Republicans in Pennsylvania?