NFIB has been working diligently for months to protect small business owners and prevent an increase in the state's minimum wage.
When Gov. Tom Wolf proposed his budget for 2019-2020 in February, he included a strong push to increase the state’s minimum wage to $12 per hour by July 1 and $15 per hour by 2025. As the budget season ends in Pennsylvania, the General Assembly and Gov. Wolf have agreed to a $34 billion budget that does not include a minimum wage increase.
NFIB has been working diligently for months to prevent an increase. But in the end, Gov. Wolf was not able to reach a compromise deal with Republicans. Republican leadership echoed NFIB’s arguments against an increase. House Majority Leader Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) pointed out that there are thousands of unfilled jobs in Pennsylvania that already pay more than the state’s minimum wage. He explained that it would be more productive to fill those positions so that Pennsylvanians’ incomes grow organically within the economy, rather than telling business owners what they must do. The priority, said Cutler, should be to create pathways for Pennsylvania’s lowest earners to get the skills and training they need to become candidates to fill existing jobs.
“NFIB is celebrating a major win on the minimum wage issue. Letting the free market set free wage rates work best on all levels of employment” Said NFIB PA State Director Gordon Denlinger. “Small business owners are always better equipped than government at aligning skill sets with the correct hourly rate of pay.”
The 2019-20 budget also includes some other major victories for small business owners. Next year’s budget does not include any new taxes, nor does it include a proposed amendment to require banks to search account data and allow the state to extract funds from businesses they said owe taxes. Also included is a temporary preemption of local plastic (bag/straw/etc.) bans until studies are completed next year by the Independent Fiscal Office and the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee. The Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC), which allows businesses to contribute tax-free to scholarship funds for children, was increased by $25 million, and the remaining surplus (around $250-300 million) from FY 2018-2019 will be deposited in the state’s Rainy Day Fund.