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Wolf Administration Doubles Down On Plan To Raise Minimum Wage For First Time Since 2009

BEAVER FALLS, Pa. (KDKA) -- At the Beaver Falls Coffee & Tea Company, Bethany Warren and her 10 staffers serve coffee and baked goods at affordable prices while making less than desirable wages.

"The most anybody has been able to make here is $10 an hour. I have consistently made less than my lowest-paid employee so I can afford to pay them," said Warren, the shop's owner. "When I lose an employee, it's almost always because they need to go make more money."

On Thursday, the state announced proposed plans to boost the $7.25 minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2027. If lawmakers could reach an agreement, this would be the first time the state's minimum wage would be raised in over a decade.

"It's time to stop the myth that adults aren't working in low-wage jobs. It's a harmful stereotype that disrespects one million Pennsylvania workers," said Jennifer Berrier, the acting secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry.

While supporting more money for their staff, some small business owners are concerned about how they would afford it. William A. Coleman, the owner of Mississippi Chicken Shack, said, "We'd have to maybe cut our employees."

"People are not ready to pay the $7 for a cup of coffee that it'll cost," Warren added.

While Democrats estimate this would pour over $300 million back into the state's economy, some Republicans suggest sticking a pin in the plans.

Stare Rep. Josh Kail, (R-PA), said, "I think what our focus ought to be is attracting and incentivizing prevailing wage jobs, good blue-collar jobs, building manufacturing facilities."

This proposal from Governor Tom Wolf would first increase the minimum wage to $12, generating an economic boost of an estimated $115 million.

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