House Dems Push for Increased Labor Costs in PA

In a seldom-used parliamentary maneuver, House Democrats may utilize House Rule 53 to discharge House Bill 257, legislation which would increase Pennsylvania’s starting wage by nearly 40% — from $5.15 per hour to $7.15 per hour.

Although government-mandated, artificial increases in labor costs on employers are bad policy, many lawmakers think minimum-wage legislation is good politics.

Take, for example, Gov. Rendell. As candidate for governor in 2002, he said: “Right now Pennsylvania businesses carry a very high tax burden compared to states we compete with. We’re [a] very heavily taxed business state…. To raise the minimum wage in just Pennsylvania, particularly for small businesses, would add another premium for doing business in the state.”

The economics haven’t changed, but with elections just around the corner, Gov. Rendell has changed his tune. Now he has made the union-driven effort to increase labor costs in PA a top priority.

We’ll have to wait and see if the Republican-controlled General Assembly falls for this “good politics, bad policy” ploy by the minority Democrats and help Gov. Rendell throw a bone to the labor unions.