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Gov. Corbett’s Minimum Wage Comment Ignores Plight of Low-Income Working Women and Men

December 16, 2013- Howard Ondick
HARRISBURG- A Philadelphia lawmaker says Gov. Corbett’s opposition to raising the minimum wage in Pennsylvania is ignoring the plight of low-income working women and men trying to make ends meet.

Senator Tina Tartaglione of Philadelphia, the Democratic Chair of the Senate Labor & Industry Committee, is sponsoring legislation to raise Pennsylvania’s minimum wage.

Gov. Tom Corbett’s revelation that he is against raising the minimum wage because he is worried about its affect on the economy is another example of how this governor is only worried about the rich, said Senator Tartaglione, the state’s leading minimum wage advocate.

“Corporations have been making record profits on the backs of hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania residents who have not had a pay raise in nearly five years,” Tartaglione said.

 “Meanwhile, countless executives have enjoyed increases and bonuses every year that have equaled far more than $1.75/hour.

 “Why does this governor think giving hardworking men and women another $70 a week is going to hurt the economy? The answer is woven in all of the other actions he’s taken since his election. Whether it is his historic $1 billion cut in basic education funding, his Scrooge-like welfare cuts, or his lack of investments in job creation programs to get people back to work, this governor has proven time and again that he doesn’t believe the people who make this economy run are worth it.”

Corbett told the Wilkes-Barre Times-Leader on Friday that he “always worries about changing the dynamic when we’re starting to come out of the (recession).”

“To many unemployed Pennsylvanians – and even our neighbors who have found work but are working two or three minimum-wage jobs to try and make ends meet – the Great Recession continues,” said Tartaglione.

 “Multi-billion dollar corporations are paying their employees poverty-level wages and it is flat wrong,” she said. Tartaglione sponsored Senate Bill 858 to raise Pennsylvania’s minimum wage from $7.25/hour to $9/hour by 2015. She has also crafted legislation to increase the minimum hourly rate for tipped employees to 70 percent of the regular minimum wage. The tipped minimum has been $2.83/hour since 1999.

“How many more holidays are our dedicated and committed workers going to have to suffer through wondering if they’re going to have enough money to buy food and pay their rent, let alone by a present for a loved one?” Tartaglione asked. “This Scrooge mentality has got to go.

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