By Alecia Reid

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It’s been more than a decade since legislators in Pennsylvania raised the minimum wage. Two local lawmakers are now pushing for that to happen on the state and federal level, a change that could affect more than two million people.

Legislators are working hard to increase Pennsylvania’s current minimum wage.

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“It is simply wrong and immoral that in the richest country in the world someone could work full time and still be stuck below the poverty line,” Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-2nd District) said.

Introduced by Sen. Christine Tartaglione, Senate Bill 12 will increase the minimum wage to $12 per hour this year with an increase each year to $15 by 2027. Tartaglione says right now more than 60% of minimum wage workers are women.

“People are working several low wage jobs just to scrape together enough income to pay the rent, buy groceries and pay bus fare,” Tartaglione said.

Selena Carter currently works at Dunkin’ and says this can help break the cycle of poverty.

“It would help a whole lot with a lot of families that’s struggling, that’s going paycheck by paycheck wondering if they can keep the lights on, put food in the refrigerator,” Carter of Southwest Philadelphia said.

Asian Fusion restaurant The Better Box currently pays its employees more than the minimum wage but say they would struggle to pay upwards of $15 per hour.

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“Financially, it’s already a really hard time for restaurants, especially with coronavirus,” Chenele Shaw with The Better Box said. “We would support the bill, but we would hope our restaurant and other restaurants would also get support.”

This is the second time the bill is being introduced. Boyle says in the past, the House of Representatives OK’d the Raise This Wage Act, but it stalled in the Senate.

This time around, Boyle feels confident it will pass.


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