Read our statement on the Congressional minimum wage vote:
The Minimum Wage Debate Needs A Compromise
For several years now, The Chamber, representing the more than 5,000 member businesses and organizations across the greater Lehigh Valley, Poconos and Western New Jersey, has been actively engaged in discussions with legislators regarding the minimum wage issue.
From the standpoint of the employer of a business or non-profit organization, increases to the minimum wage can have multi-layered negative effects. Most businesses have only a limited ability to increase their revenue in response to a major change in cost structure.
Legislation that passed along party lines in the U.S. House of Representatives today seeks to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $15 per hour. This far-reaching proposal is extremely concerning to employers.
The Chamber agrees that after a decade since the last change, the current minimum wage should be raised. But, that increase must be reasonable, done in a gradual manner and taking into account geographic differences.
What amount represents a reasonable elevation to the minimum wage that will help workers without destroying small businesses? The Chamber believes that rate is $9.50/hour, which would bring the per hour pay up $2.25 starting January 2020. This was calculated using a 3% average rate of inflation over the period of time from the date of the last increase in minimum wage.
That is not a minimal amount to a business’ payroll, especially the 80% of members who have less than 50 employees, and many of those under 10. However, our members felt strongly that after a decade of no change, an increase in minimum wage was due.
The Chamber also advocates that, in order to take politics out of the equation, the minimum wage increase annually at the same growth rate used to calculate social security increase – the CPI-W index, using a 20 year rolling average with a 3% cap. This would allow small businesses to budget their expenses, maintain and grow jobs, and remove the uncertainty of what has become a political football.
Finally as important as the 3% cap is the creation of a tiered, regional minimum wage structure. Doesn’t it make more sense to take into consideration the fact that there are material differences between Philadelphia and Potter County, and to use that data to create a flexible minimum wage structure that is appropriate for the region in question?
As the 7th largest Chamber of Commerce in the United States, we believe it is our responsibility to set a course of action that represents business interests. As Congress continues its process of creating law, we will continue to work with our public officials to seek alternative legislation that will benefit the entire community.
If you have any questions regarding our minimum wage policy please contact Michelle Griffin-Young - firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Chamber's Public Policy Committee is your voice in government. Our Government Affairs team fights for the issues of concern for your business on the local, state, and federal levels. We take proactive measures to ensure that government considers business in every applicable vote. We'll keep you informed of relevant issues through our newsletters, committee, and council meetings. The five subcommittees focus on key areas of concern for our Lehigh Valley businesses. Each committee meets to discuss industry-specific issues and gain insight into their impact on the business community. The committees serve as advocates with our legislators.
The five subcommittees are:
The Public Policy committee members and staff listens to our members needs and research all sides of pertinent issues and pending bills to produce The Chamber's position statements. We take pro-business positions on legislation that will have an impact on your business. We then advocate for legislation that will create a more commerce-friendly environment where your business can thrive.
Contact your Public Policy team for more information:
Michelle Griffin Young,
Executive VP, Government & External Affairs
email@example.com | 610-739-1514
Government Affairs Director, Workforce Board LV OneStop Operator
firstname.lastname@example.org | 610-739-1642