In his budget proposal, Governor Tom Wolf is calling for a more than 140% increase in the minimum wage for teachers here in Pennsylvania. But, some lawmakers are now pushing back against that idea.
For 30 years, the minimum wage for teachers in Pennsylvania has been $18,500 per year. In his latest budget proposal, the governor laid out a plan to increase that to $45,000
Representative Jim Struzzi says, “I believe that they all deserve the correct compensation. But, I am concerned with that ripple effect.”
A ripple effect that could lead to higher salaries across the board. Struzzi concerned that increase could result in higher property taxes.
“Someone is going to have to come up with the money to cover those additional salary increase. And that’s my real concern.”
At a budget hearing Monday, House Appropriations Committee Chair Stan Saylor also brought up concern over a raise in the minimum wage opening the state up to a potential lawsuit.
“If I’m that teacher making $45,000 after ten years, and you just raised that teacher that’s been there one year to $45,000, I’m suing you. Because you just devalued me.”
Chris Lilienthal, Spokesperson for the PA State Education Association, says, “One really important way that we can make sure that our students are successful is by making sure that we attract and retain the best and brightest to teach our students.”
The PSEA supports the governor’s proposal. Lilienthal says it would not affect any existing collective bargaining agreements and the potential for a ripple effect is overblown.
“That didn’t happen in 1988, the last time the law was updated, and it’s not likely to happen in 2019.”
Chris says there are only a handful of school districts with a starting salary of $18,500, but that this would affect more than 3,000 educators who make less than $45,000.