LANCASTER − June 1, 2023 − State Sen. Art Haywood (D-Montgomery/Phila) and state Rep. Ismail Smith-Wade-El (D-Lancaster) today held a rally to raise the state minimum wage in Reservoir Park in Lancaster where Haywood announced the introduction of his Raise the Wage legislation, which calls for a $15 minimum wage.

The legislators were joined by representatives from CASA and NAACP-Lancaster and local leaders.

Haywood’s legislation would:

  1. Enact a $15 minimum wage by January 2024.
  2. End preemption so that local governments can set their own rates.
  3. End the $2.83 tip wage so that there is one fair wage for all, including those in the food service industry.
  4. Enact a yearly cost-of-living adjustment to avoid repeating this legislative battle year-over-year.

“Raising the minimum wage is critical to not only respect the dignity of hardworking people so that they can afford housing and food, and so that they don’t have to choose between food, heat, clothing, and other basic needs,” Senator Haywood said. “This legislation supports businesses who need shoppers with more money in their pockets when they come to their stores.”

“This is about helping parents and allowing them to be parents, no longer having to work two or three jobs and having greater freedom to provide their children with a better education, enrich their young ones with opportunities like recreational activities, be more active in their communities, and spend time with their families.”

When asked about the impact of raising the minimum wage, state Rep. Smith-Wade-El said, “Our families deserve a living wage – one that supports them and their families to thrive in this community. I was proud to join state Sen. Art Haywood and my fellow Lancastrians today to rally to raise the wage. The benefits of raising the wage would be vast, from helping reverse decades of pay inequality to narrowing the racial pay gap for workers of color. Raising the minimum wage would particularly benefit women, who make up the majority of minimum-wage workers. Those benefits extend to small businesses, too. When our families have more to work with, they spend more money nurturing homegrown businesses instead of sending our community’s wealth to corporate executives and shareholders who don’t care about our neighborhoods.

“While my neighbors struggle to work multiple jobs and take care of their families at the same time, the cost of social support is pushed onto the taxpayers instead of the people profiting off their labor. According to one study, in states without a $15 minimum wage law, public support programs for underpaid workers and their families make up 42% of total spending on Medicaid and CHIP (the Children’s Health Insurance Program), cash assistance (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF), food stamps (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP), and the earned income tax credit (EITC), and cost federal and state taxpayers more than $107 billion a year. American productivity is as high as it has ever been, and corporate profits are at an all-time high – it’s time to share the wealth. Our working families and our taxpayers shouldn’t suffer in the name of ever-increasing corporate excess. The time to raise the wage is now.”