Wolf “welcomes discussion” with Legislature on his minimum wage hike

    Gov. Tom Wolf's proposed budget, while avoiding a tax increase, uses an accounting technique reminiscent of a GOP budget plan he blasted in 2017. (Flickr)

    A spokesman for Governor Tom Wolf indicated Tuesday that his office could be open to compromise with Pennsylvania’s Republican-dominated legislature in order to raise the state’s minimum wage.

    Wolf’s remarks came a day after a top Senate Republican said his party couldn’t support Wolf’s call for a $15 per hour minimum wage, but could entertain other proposals.

    “Governor Wolf believes strongly that his plan is what is fair to workers struggling to make ends meet with rising costs,” administration spokesman J.J. Abbott said. “We would welcome a discussion with the legislature about it.”

    Abbott declined to say if Wolf would consider a Republican counter-proposal for a lower wage.

    In remarks after a Pennsylvania Press Club luncheon Monday, Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, R-Centre, suggested there could be enough Republican support to discuss a “modest increase” to the state’s $7.25 minimum wage. The state’s minimum, which is the same as the federal minimum, has not been raised since 2009.

    Corman declined to say what wage he thought would pass the House and Senate.

    “I think most people understand there’s a need there,” he said, “[but] it’s a matter of arriving at a number that the governor and Senate Democrats can agree on.”

    Wolf’s statement also echoes remarks from House Appropriations Chair Stan Saylor, R-York, who said Monday afternoon that House Republicans “were open to a discussion” on increasing the minimum wage.

    Saylor didn’t say what wage he supports, but did say that “$12 is off the table.”

    Under Wolf’s proposal, the state’s minimum wage would increase to $12 this June and then by 50-cents per year through 2025, when it would hit $15 per hour.

    Wolf has made the same pitch every year since taking office in 2015.

    Corman said Monday that Wolf’s wage hike has died in past years because the Governor wouldn’t budget on his $15 proposal. He suggested that the same thing would happen this year if the Governor was unwilling to compromise with the General Assembly.

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