Raising the minimum wage is good for business – I should know, I run one: John Traynor

Pennsylvania’s minimum wage is stuck in the past and that’s bad for business.

Set at $7.25 an hour since 2009, Pennsylvania’s minimum wage is lower than all six of our neighboring states.

Our state minimum wage, which amounts to just $15,080 a year for full-time work, is a drag on Pennsylvania’s customer base, tax base and economy.

I own the Harrisburg Midtown Arts Center, a multi-venue arts and entertainment complex, which includes The Kitchen & Gallery Bar, a 150-seat restaurant.

We won the 2016 Tourism Business of the Year award from the Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau. Paying fair wages has been a big part of our success.

While Pennsylvania’s minimum wage has stagnated at $7.25 for eight years, at HMAC we’ve raised our starting pay because it’s vital for our employees and good for our business. Our starting pay is currently $12 for employees who don’t earn tips.

Tipped staff earn an average $18 to $25-an-hour with tips.

In the service industry, staff turnover is typically very high – as much as 100 percent a year or higher.

This low pay, high churn business model is actually very costly – businesses are constantly training new staff and starting the process over again when someone leaves to make a little bit more someplace else.