Pa. chambers: minimum-wage hike would cost thousands of jobs

$7.25 is the current federally-mandated minimum wage in the U.S. (Dave Ralis / Philly.com)

Warning that jobs - especially those created by small businesses - will be at risk, the PA Chamber of Business and Industry and 34 local chambers of commerce sent a letter Tuesday to the General Assembly urging legislators to oppose proposed mandated wage hikes.

"Following a historically devastating economic recession and in the midst of an unprecedentedly [sic] sluggish recovery and persistently high unemployment, it is imperative that lawmakers pursue public policy that encourages job retention and creation and avoids impediments to economic growth," the letter says. "Increasing the minimum wage would be contrary to these key principles.

The legislature is considering proposals to increase the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour or more, up from the current $7.25.

The letter from the chambers of commerce says the last time Pennsylvania increased the minimum wage, many small businesses were forced to reduce hours, halt hiring and cut jobs. A boost to $10.10 an hour could result in the loss of 28,000 to 119,000 jobs in Pennsylvania, the letter says.