Automatic Minimum-wage Hikes Not So Good

Posted: March 03, 2008

STATE SEN. Tina Tartaglione is to be commended for her commitment to helping low-wage workers. But her plan to have government dictate to business that each year it must pay workers more, regardless of a business' ability to do so, would actually further limit hiring opportunities for these workers.

Unfortunately, supporters of a minimum wage cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) fail to realize this because they refuse to acknowledge that the recent minimum-wage hike had any negative impact. But a consequence of the increase was documented by both the Daily News and the Inquirer. The papers ran stories about the city's nonprofit youth jobs program, which saw reduced job openings as a result of the increased minimum wage, as well as a request for $820,000 in taxpayer dollars to assist the initiative.

The Daily News wrote: "This year's internship recruitment has a new set of challenges. When the state recently raised the minimum wage, the money available to fund the internships was spread much thinner."

The Inquirer pointed out: "One consequence of [the] increase in the minimum wage . . . is the threat it poses to summer jobs for youth. As salaries rise, the number of jobs comes down because program budgets are limited."

Ironically, the Inquirer earlier editorialized that the argument that raising the minimum wage reduces available entry-level jobs was no longer true!

It's also important to note that small business bears the brunt of mandated wages. Feedback from our small-business members indicates that many employers were forced to freeze hiring, reduce hours, raise prices and even lay off young and low-skilled employees as a result of the recent increase.

Were some people better off as a result of the minimum-wage increase? No doubt. But many low-skilled workers were denied the critical opportunity to get that first foot up on the job ladder. Many more will be denied this opportunity if the legislature enacts a COLA.

Gene Barr, Vice President

Government and Public Affairs

Pa. Chamber of Business and Industry

Media critics

Re Alycia Lane on the front page, full page, any page:

Let's save this space for real stories that affect the lives of real people and are newsworthy. You are boring me with all the same information just said in different ways. One day working in a shelter because you have to is nothing to brag about and deserves no reward.

She's made many poor choices and should be held accountable like anyone else. Instead, she expects special treatment based on what she looks like. That's just wrong.

Dianne Susi, Wilmington

You got to be kidding. Your front cover on the gay-porn twins made me puke up my breakfast. Is that the best you can do?

Michael J. Quinn, Philadelphia

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