Readers React: Why minimum wage hike would hurt Pennsylvania's economy

David Fillman’s column (The Morning Call, Feb. 21) calling for a minimum wage increase and an additional tax on the natural gas industry ignores the negative impacts these proposals would have on the state’s economy.

Countless independent studies have shown that mandated wage hikes lead to reduced hours and outright 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.

Also, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry’s Minimum Wage Advisory Board’s 2019 Minimum Wage Report, the majority of minimum wage earners are under the age of 25, and 80 percent work part time.

In regard to calls for a severance tax, one of Pennsylvania’s greatest advantages is our affordable and accessible energy supply. We risk losing this competitive edge if elected officials continue to call for higher energy taxes to pay for increased government spending.

Rather than enact policies that will hurt Pennsylvania’s economy and jobs market, policymakers should support proposals that focus on workforce development and encourage the private sector to thrive.

Gene Barr

The writer is president and CEO of Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry.