Gov candidate McGinty proposes minimum wage hike

Katie McGinty, a Democratic candidate for governor of Pennsylvania, wants to hike the minimum wage by 24 percent in hopes that putting more money in the pockets of working families will stimulate the state economy.

McGinty’s proposal would increase the minimum wage in the state from the federal level of $7.25 an hour to $9 an hour. She would include a provision for a cost-of-living adjustment tied to the Consumer Price Index to keep up with inflation.

Consumer spending drives about 70 percent of U.S. economic activity, and one of the reasons for the slow growth rate coming out of the great recession is reluctance or inability on the part of consumers to spend more.

“One of the best ways to get the economy moving is to put money into the pockets of people who work,” McGinty said. “Too many wage earners, working moms in particular, are holding down full-time, 40-hour-a-week jobs and still finding it too hard to make ends meet and support families. That’s because the minimum wage hasn’t kept pace with the rising cost of living today. That needs to change.”

President Obama recently proposed increasing the federal minimum from $7.25 to $9 per hour. Eighteen states already have passed minimum wage rates above the current federal minimum of $7.25. Eight states and the District of Columbia have a minimum wage equal to or more than $8. New York is in the process of implementing a law that would take its minimum wage to $8 on Jan. 1, 2014, and $9 on Jan. 1, 2016.

McGinty is former secretary of the state Department of Environmental Protection, serving in the administration of Gov. Ed Rendell. Other candidates for the Democratic nomination include: U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz; former DEP Secretary John Hanger; Tom Wolf, a businessman from York County who was state revenue secretary; and, in all likelihood, state Treasurer Rob McCord.