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Momentum Builds in Pennsylvania For Higher Minimum Wage

(John Dodds of the Philadelphia Unemployment Project, far right, and other worker advocates listen as US Sen. Bob Casey speaks to reporters at 30th Street Station in West Philadelphia.  Credit: Pat Loeb)

(John Dodds of the Philadelphia Unemployment Project, far right, and other worker advocates listen as US Sen. Bob Casey speaks to reporters at 30th Street Station in West Philadelphia. Credit: Pat Loeb)

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By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Fast food workers in Philadelphia did not join in today’s strikes for higher wages in other parts of the country (see related story), but local officials and economists were voicing support for the movement to increase the minimum wage.

It’s been four years since the federal minimum wage has been raised, and Mark Price of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center says that means workers at that salary level have been taking a pay cut.

“Here in Pennsylvania, since 2007, the minimum wage worker has lost about ten percent off their purchasing power,” he noted.

And Price says that hurts the local economy because they have less disposable income to put into it.

While opponents of an increase say it will cost jobs, Price predicts it would create nearly 4,000 new jobs across Pennsylvania.

“These are folks who are going to spend all of the increase on other goods and services in the economy, and that’s going to filter out and help other people, even for those who are impacted by the increases.  A pizza shop owner who has to absorb a higher wage, they’re also going to have more people come in the front door,” Price said.

US Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.)  has joined the call for increasing the minimum wage. He says it would affect 700,000 Pennsylvania workers.

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