Businesses Worry Wage Increase Will Hurt Tourism

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CARBON COUNTY -- Rafting, skiing and more -- it's what visitors come to the Poconos for every year.

"Tourism is very, very big in Carbon County. It's one of our biggest economic factors here," Kathy Henderson, Carbon Chamber and Economic Development.

"We hire a ton of high school and college students, and for a lot of people, it's their first job. Keeping the minimum wage low helps us to be able to hire more staff. So by hiring these kids, giving them that first real work experience, it's really important that we have a lower minimum wage so we can do that," said Sky Fogal, Pocono Whitewater.

But the industry that gains a lot could potentially lose a lot.

Governor Tom Wolf hopes to raise Pennsylvania's minimum wage from $7.25 to $12 an hour.

"We would rather see it go a little bit slower, incrementally to help the businesses and consumers adjust to it," said Henderson.

Because tourism is a big industry in Carbon County, resorts can use all the staffing they can get. Some business owners fear if you raise the minimum wage, staffing will become more expensive and they don't want to raise rates or hire fewer people.

Owners of Pocono Whitewater near Jim Thorpe say if wages go up, they may have to hire fewer people.

"If you increase rates too much, it's cheaper to automate. Whether it's a tourism business or whether it's a manufacturing job, a lot of those things will disappear," said Fogal.

The proposal to raise Pennsylvania's minimum wage still needs to be approved by state lawmakers.

30 comments

  • Dolores Andrews

    If small business can not afford a living wage to their workers , they do not have the smarts to run a profitable business & must not use slave labor to make their business work ! You owners should seek employment with people who can treat their employees fairly !!

  • Daniel Kubasek

    , The minimum wage increase should have been going up in small increments, the hike to $12.00 should make up for it , it should go up to $15.00 a hour. As far as tourism and manufacturing people who come to our state because they make a lot more money then our state pays. Manufacturing has already automated to cut jobs and save money. All against try and live on $10.00 a hour see if you can. Finally I believe Gov. Wolf wants to do this to raise income so more income taxes are collected.

  • CeeMe

    Business people around here are always crying the blues about paying their employees a decent wage. I started working a 16 and none of those jobs I did, got me where I am today. I have mixed feelings about paying summer or temporary help, $12.00/hr. but for someone who makes a career out of a job they’re hired for, $12 is a fair salary to start with. Even if Wolf was to temper the whole wage thing a bit, employers would still be crying. It’s less money in their pocket.

  • I Am The Antipope

    Why can’t Democrats come up with an incremental increase instead of a large sudden one?
    Why not start off with an increase to 8.00 or 8.50 first?

  • JessicaInWilliamsport

    Many other areas in the U.S. who have increased their minimum wage have experienced a boost in their local economy. As for not understanding economics, if people can only afford to exist then they can’t afford to buy additional goods — therefore businesses won’t need to hire. Supply and demand. If folks actually get some money that covers more than just their rent and utilities, they will spend it on goods and boost the local economy. Common sense.

  • Dana Smith

    If they pay $7.25 they aren’t a valid employer anyway , especially as money is as devalued as under Obama. Self employment is the only way to really earn, unless you did the degree bit in a valid field or overpaid govt. employee.
    The wage increase simply accelerates inflation , We will always have poor and bums (tourist industry?)( 2-3 mo a yr.!)
    Until people don’t use credit and don’t spend all your pay (like idiots with expensive cell phones) they won’t get anywhere in life regardless of wages .

  • TimesUp

    Regardless if the wage goes up or not. The illegal aliens will work for less then 7 bucks an hr anyhow. Get a bus , go to nearest street corner with tons of dayworkers , bring them into the poconos. Your problems are solved. No one will report the illegals working because everyone wants them here , right? .

    • SickofFakeNews

      Any business who *knowingly* hires illegal immigrants should be fined into bankruptcy. (And I am normally pro-business). Those types of businesses act as magnets for illegal immigration and are making the problem worse. Plus they keep people here legally from getting decent employment at decent wages. There is no excuse to knowingly hire people who are here illegally.

  • Ya ya

    I’m all for a wage increase if it means it will actually help but I have a feeling the end result is just gonna be that were just gonna be handling more money. Everything will go up so how will it help. The problem is a lot deeper them just the pay.
    I mean in some areas rent is a grand for a POS apartment and so many other things are just way to expensive. Everyone’s not just trying to make a buck they’re trying to get rich and at everyone else’s expense. Anymore it seems like you either have money or you dirt poor.

    • SickofFakeNews

      Good point about either being rich or dirt poor. There is a disturbing trend with only two classes of society emerging (the rich and poor) and elimination of the middle class. This is a fairly well-known trend among futurists and is cause for concern since it leads to societal upheaval. It needs to be addressed and NOT raising the minimum wage is a sure way to ensure that disturbing, ominous trend will continue. Raising the minimum wage is one small step towards alleviating it and yet it is met with so much opposition. Sure, prices will increase, but people will be better able to afford those increases. It makes working for a living instead of being on the dole more appealing. Let’s encourage work here, please.

      Besides, if it was some other input, like gas or cotton or some metal like copper, no one would question it and simply pass the costs on or settle for slightly lower margins as business owners or pay more for whatever it was as consumers. It’s pretty sad that when it comes to the human input of production, there is so much reluctance to do the right thing and assist the working poor so they no longer have to be both working AND poor.

    • Spencer

      Here’s the thing. If you double the pay, and assume 100% of that gets passed on to consumers, you’re still not doubling the price of the good or service. Labor usually only makes up about 30% of a business’s expenditure, so you should expect a 30% raise in goods and services in exchange for doubling pay. Kind of. A little oversimplified, and I’m by no means an economist.

  • SickofFakeNews

    I’m usually very conservative on issues, but $7.25 an hour is not a livable wage and decentivizes work. That’s barely $15,000 a year total income for working full-time.. How many of those complaining about raising the minimum wage in PA can live on that?

    As far as the resort manager complaining, he’s the last one who should be concerned. Vacations are a completely discretionary expense. If you can afford a vacation, you can afford slightly higher prices.

    Besides, those against this are not thinking it through (yes even you Mr. Econ.) Low income–>govt’ assistance programs (housing/food stamps/etc.)–>higher taxes to pay for those programs PLUS lowers the incentive to work leading to lower tax revenues again leading to higher tax rates overall. So one way or another those vacation takers the resort manager is so concerned about paying more if the minimum wage is increased will be paying more regardless in the form of state and federal taxes.

    Raising the minimum wage is about ENCOURAGING people to WORK and getting off public assistance. That’s a good thing for society. I’m surprised my conservative brethren would be in favor of discouraging people from working and remaining on govt assistance by not raising wages to a livable level. And Mr. Econ. you should know the multiplier effect of increasing income for the lowest-income earners is far greater because they will spend most if not all of it almost immediately, driving economic growth overall. THAT sir, is economics.

    • CeeMe

      Yes, and isn’t it amazing how we always have money to help other countries or poor people coming here to live, but we can’t provide Americans with a decent wage? Why don’t business owners complain about that? Look at how much more business loans, tax breaks and discretionary spending could be had, if we just took care of our own budget.

  • magicmikexxsm

    My first job I was paid $5.25 hour min wage back in 1975. working on the Boro garbage truck picking garbage during summer break………how many of the cup cake gen you think would do that today….lol

    • anonymous

      Accounting for inflation, that’s $23.70/hr today. You bet people would be lining up for that – I know I would have, if I were making less than that.

      • CeeMe

        The problem is most employers won’t give you that amount of money. Adjusted for inflation? Are you kidding? I have a friend who was a professional driver but his company down-sized. The most he could get any employer to give him, was $16.00/hr. Ok wages, I guess, but way below what he was making.

  • magicmikexxsm

    Watched this reprot this morning the guy from WWR was right. he knows exactly and is correct….o9kay I could see raising the min. up to say $9.25hr but to $12.00 NO..what about the people then that have worked hard been with a company for say 2 yrs. and finally are making say $13.50 to $14.00 an hour, are you also going to give them the same amount in raise that the min workers got???? it’s not fair to the 13.50 to 14.00 or anybody for that matter who doesn’t get an increase who has worked hard…..

    See people this is the democrats playbook every year…nowonder you got your butts kicked by Trump.

    • Spencer

      “it’s not fair to the 13.50 to 14.00 or anybody for that matter who doesn’t get an increase who has worked hard…..”

      You may be right, but I’d consider paying people a living wage a bit more important than being “fair”. Besides which, this really speaks to the rampant under-compensation of the American working class, which is a bigger issue than JUST the minimum wage.

  • WarningFakeNews

    A higher minimum wage increases the cost of doing business, which are passed on to the consumers. The consumers, who typically have the jobs that pay more now, then have to pay more for everything. Meanwhile, everyone moves into a higher tax bracket. Genius!

  • Mike

    Call me crazy but when I decide to take a vacation I never even thought about checking to see what the local minimum wage was as all resort towns charge premium prices anyway at restaurants bars etc just another excuse from greedy business to keep people at minimum wage

  • Lloyd Schmucatelli

    Wolf’s hitting that crack pipe again.

    Kiss your summer jobs good bye kids!

    Kiss all your favorite ice cream stands goodbye or get ready for $15 hot fudge Sundaes.

  • fissels

    This large of a wage increase, this quickly will backfire. Businesses will stop hiring and/or cut back on their staff. Some businesses may close their doors.

    • beam_me_up

      Exactly, the jump is too big between 7 to 12 dollars if implemented all at once. The incentive to perform well still won’t be there because minimum wage is minimum wage; those employees will seek to go elsewhere if they don’t like their jobs, however, like you said jobs will be fewer and far between when these businesses make cuts or close altogether. No one at the top of the totem is going to give anything up!
      This is going to backfire so bad more people with be on public assistance and more parents will have their kids home for even longer..with no income coming in.

      • CeeMe

        . No one at the top of the totem is going to give anything up!….
        Therein lies the problem. Greed. The love of money is the root of all evil.

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