Friday, March 02, 2007

Minimum wage ploy backfires in Pennsylvania

Remember all the hype last year when Gov. Ed Rendell and Democrats in the state Legislature pushed to raise the minimum wage in Pennsylvania?

Despite near universal condemnation by economists and business leaders, Rendell got the minimum wage hike bill through the Legislature and signed it into law. Rendell touted it as one of his big "accomplishments" during his re-election campaign last fall.

The state's minimum wage increased from $5.15 per hour to $6.25 per hour on January 1, 2007. It will go up $7.15 on July 1. (For employers with the equivalent of 10 or fewer full-time employees (based on a 40-hour workweek), the minimum wage increases in three steps: $5.65 on January 1, 2007; $6.65 on July 1, 2007; and $7.15 on July 1, 2008.)

Rendell and the lockstep Democrats in Harrisburg promised that raising the minimum wage would help hundreds of thousands of working Pennsylvanians earning salaries below the poverty level.

Reality often has a habit of biting know-it-all politicians in the rump.

Rendell's plan to "help working Pennsylvanians" appears to have backfired for employees of the Bonanza restaurant in Boyertown. The popular Berks County eatery off Route 100 recently closed its doors after 20 years in business.

All 85 employees, including many earning minimum wage, lost their jobs.

The restaurant owner told The Boyertown Times that several factors forced her to go out of business. One of those reasons she cited was ... drum roll, please ... the increase in the minimum wage in Pennsylvania!

So instead of earning a little bit of money, the restaurant workers are now earning zero.

Maybe the restaurant workers can write Ed Rendell a thank-you note while they're standing in the unemployment line.

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