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LETTER: Minimum wage editorial ignores risks

Gene Barr
Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry
FILE - In this July 27, 2018 file photo, the logo for Amazon is displayed on a screen at the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York. Amazon, facing a backlash from longtime warehouse workers who say its $15 hourly minimum wage wouldn’t benefit them, will now get a bigger raise. The company says adjustments are being made this Oct. 2018, and workers who already made $15 an hour will get more than the $1 extra an hour promised last week. Amazon says the raise will differ by warehouse.(AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

A recent editorial calling for an increase to the state’s minimum wage irresponsibly ignores the unintended consequences that result from government mandated hikes to entry-level wages.  

Countless independent studies have shown that these policies lead to negative impacts on employment, including job loss. A Congressional Budget Office report concluded that an increase to $10.10 an hour would result in the loss of 500,000 to 1 million jobs nationwide. 

More:EDITORIAL: Pa.'s minimum wage no longer defensible

Another recent study from the University of Washington found that Seattle’s minimum wage increase to $13 an hour has actually led to a reduction in average take-home pay for low-wage workers. No one disputes that some individuals benefit from mandated wage increases; but the fact is, others are hurt — including some of the very people advocates claim they want to help.

Interestingly, while The York Dispatch supports a statewide minimum wage increase, the newspaper industry enjoys specific exemptions under state law. How can this outlet argue for government mandated wage hikes when their own industry has successfully sought exemptions from the mandate?

Policymakers and advocates ought to pursue policies that help low-wage earners without risking jobs, like stronger job training programs and more targeted support to low-income families, such as a state Earned Income Tax Credit.  

— Gene Barr is president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry.