Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf took the wraps off his agenda for 2021 and among other things, it includes raising the minimum wage and legalizing marijuana for adult-use. The governor is also calling for criminal justice, healthcare, pension and campaign reform, lowering corporate taxes for businesses, gift bans for all public officials, improve mass transit, broadband internet access and school safety.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed Pennsylvania and exacerbated existing barriers for too many Pennsylvanians. To get Pennsylvania back on track from the disruptions the pandemic is causing, we need to make major, targeted investments to strengthen our economy, support workers and small business owners, rebuild our infrastructure, and help all Pennsylvanians build a path to financial security”, said Governor Wolf.
The governor wants to hike the minimum wage to $12 an hour effective July 1, 2021, with annual increases of $0.50 until the minimum wage reaches $15 per hour on July 1, 2027.
“If you don’t pay your workers a wage that allows them to build a family and have a good career, you’re not going to get the best results from your workers. Right now, $7.25 an hour is not a living wage. Businesses that are trying to get by by keeping wages low is simply not good business”, said Governor Wolf.
The governor also said he supports the Covid relief package approved by the State Senate which includes $912 million to aid schools, restaurants and the hospitality industry hit hard during the pandemic as well as people struggling to pay rent or utility bills.
$145 million would be available in grants for bars, restaurants and hotels. $570 million would help people struggling to pay rent or utilities. $197 million would be distributed to schools. The bill still needs approval from the state House of Representatives.