Sunday, July 02, 2006


we're now "this close" to raising the minimum wage ...

in pennsylvania, all we need now is renedell's signature. here's the scoop from the coalition that has worked tirelessly for this to happen:
Well, the long struggle is over and Pennsylvania will now join much of the rest of the nation with a long overdue raise in the minimum wage. So many organizations and public officials deserve a tremendous amount of credit for your efforts in keeping this issue before the public and the legislature.

The overwhelming numbers for final passage of SB 1090 (161-37 in the House and 38-12 in the Senate) make it clear how the opposition hid behind thier leader's refusals to allow a vote on a fair minimum wage. The Raise the Minimum Wage Coalition's strategy to target leaders in radio ads, direct organizing and political pressure to demand a vote made a real contribution to the final victory. The many organizations involved should feel proud. The combination of labor, religious, social service, community groups and political leaders that worked so hard on this issue made a difference in many ways. Our rotunda-packing rallies in Harrisburg kept the pressure on and everyone's work on individual members made a real contribution. In the end our opposition could no longer defend holding up a raise for Pennsylvania's poorest workers and families across the state will get a much needed pay raise.

Thanks again to all who stood tall for justice and fair wages.
here's some more details on the bill:
Rendell's signature would make Pennsylvania the 22nd state to approve an increase in its minimum wage since Congress last raised the federal minimum wage to $5.15 in 1997.

"We should not accept the fact that in our great commonwealth, and in our country, someone can work full time and still live well below the poverty level," Rendell said in a statement released Saturday.

The Senate passed the bill, 38-11, in an unusual Saturday morning session that was a prelude to a vote on a spending plan for the just-begun fiscal year. The House endorsed the bill Friday, after making minor changes to legislation the Senate passed June 22.

Democrats voted solidly for the increase, as did Republicans from southeastern Pennsylvania. Many Republicans from rural areas and those who are the Legislature's strongest business advocates opposed the increase.

Increasing the minimum wage is one of Rendell's top election-year priorities and is an issue that polls well with voters. For the past year, Democrats, labor unions and advocates for the poor have pressured the Legislature's Republican leaders to allow a vote on raising wages to $7.15. After many months of holding out, they relented, but won approval of an exemption that would spare the state's smallest businesses from paying the full increase until 2008.

The bill calls for Pennsylvania's minimum wage to rise to $6.25 an hour on Jan. 1, 2007, then to $7.15 an hour on July 1, 2007.

The increase would take effect more slowly for employers with the equivalent of 10 or fewer full-time employees, although franchises of larger chains would not qualify for that exemption. Those employers that do qualify would pay $5.65 an hour beginning Jan. 1, 2007; $6.65 beginning July 1, 2007; and $7.15 on July 1, 2008.

About 423,000 workers in Pennsylvania make between $5.15 and $7.14 an hour, but it is not clear how many of those work for businesses that qualify for the 10-employee exemption, according to the state Department of Labor and Industry.

The 2006 federal poverty level for an individual is $9,800; for a family of two it is $13,200; and for a family of three it is $16,600. Someone who is paid $5.15 an hour, 40 hours a week for 52 weeks a year makes $10,700.
ok whose state is next?

How would you respond to the position that an expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a much more effective and equitable way of helping the working poor than raising the minimum wage?
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