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Dear Editor:

A recent editorial re-printed in The Sentinel (opinion page, June 14) that called for an increase in the state’s minimum wage conveniently ignores the unintended consequences of government mandated hikes to entry-level wages.

The editorial cites a report from an organized labor-funded group that aggressively advocates for anti-business policies. We’d suggest considering a recent analysis by the nonpartisan state Independent Fiscal Office, which found that a $12 hourly rate — as proposed by the Wolf administration — would result in the loss of 34,000 jobs. A Congressional Budget Office report concluded that increasing to $10.10 would result in the loss of 500,000 jobs nationwide, possibly up to 1 million.

Another recent study from the University of Washington found that Seattle’s minimum wage increase actually led to a reduction in average take-home pay for low-wage workers. Certainly some individuals benefit from mandated wage increases; but as Seattle shows, others are hurt — including some of the very people advocates want to help.

The editorial describes advocates “making the case that Pennsylvanians can’t afford to live, much less raise a family” on minimum wage. We agree. Their argument falls apart, however, when the state reports that most minimum wage earners are young, have no children and don’t live in poverty.

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Policymakers and advocates ought to pursue policies that target support to low-income families without risking jobs.

Alex Halper

Director of Government Affairs

Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry

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