Local businesses react to possible minimum wage increase
If you caught The State of the Union Address last night you probably heard the idea of raising minimum wage.
While the President says it's a matter of economic fairness, some local business owners say for them it's not fair at all.
"Let's declare that in the wealthiest nation on earth, no one that works full time should have to live in poverty," said President Obama at the State of The Union Address.
In an effort to improve the middle class, president obama wants to raise the minimum wage to nine dollars an hour.
The current minimum wage of $7.25 an hour translates to a $15,000 salary- well below the living wage in most areas of the country.
Grand junction resident, Mary Gneiser said, "I think it would be a good idea, i know for people who are making minimum wage it's very hard to live on that, i realize it would have a big impact on businesses, especially the smaller,"
An impact that small business owner, Joleen Paiz, says, could be the end of her shop.
"Him adding $9 minimum wage would probably throw us right over the edge, it would probably put us out of business," said Paiz.
She only has a small handful of employees who get minimum wage.
But Paiz says even just paying them more isn't affordable.
"Upping minimum wage is a very dangerous thing for businesses," said
Operations Partner of Del Taco, H.B. Mason. He adds, although he'd love to pay employers more, it's easier said than done.
"9 dollars an hour sounds great for anybody, oh great I'll make more money, but the thing it does for employers is....somebody is going to have to lose their job. We're going to have to cut somebody somewhere, because we can't afford to pay 50, 60 people at 9 dollars an hour," said Mason.
Mason thinks it should be left up to the business owners.
"I can see who's good and who's doing a good job, I can reward them where they need to be rewarded, the government can't do that, they don't know them personally," explains Mason.
And Paiz says even if it does give some workers a bit more to take home it won't help the struggling economy.
“If it helps at all, it will be for basic expenses. I don't think it's going to be something they'd just go out and spend," adds Paiz.
Copyright 2012 KJCT. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
The following are comments from our users. Opinions expressed are neither created nor endorsed by KJCT, its web master or its television station management. These comments are moderated by the community. To report an offensive or otherwise inappropriate comment, click the "Flag" link that appears beneath that comment. Comments that are flagged will alert our editorial staff.