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GOP pummels Gov. Tom Wolf’s minimum wage proposal

The Associated Press
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Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf delivers his budget address for the 2019-20 fiscal year to a joint session of the Pennsylvania House and Senate in Harrisburg, Pa., Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

HARRISBURG — Hearings on Gov. Tom Wolf’s $34.1 billion budget plan kicked off with a volley of Republican attacks on the Democrat’s new proposal to raise Pennsylvania’s minimum wage.

Monday’s first House budget hearing featured Republicans repeatedly criticizing the broader impact of a minimum wage increase, including whether it would mean fewer entry-level jobs, squeeze small businesses or drive up inflation.

Wolf wants to raise Pennsylvania’s hourly minimum to $12 this year, making it one of the nation’s highest. Annual 50-cent increases would bring it to $15 an hour in 2025. Wolf says it would boost pay for a million workers and provide savings in programs for the poor.

The Republican-controlled Legislature previously has blocked similar proposals by Wolf.

Most states have increased theirs above the $7.25 federal minimum.