On Your Side: Minimum wage increase could affect the prices you pay

By: Jeff Anderson Email
By: Jeff Anderson Email

News 12 at 6, July 23, 2008

NORTH AUGUSTA -- Gas has gone up, groceries have gone up and now, minimum wage is going up to help offset those costs. But you could be footing the bill for someone else's raise.

For small business owners around the country, the $.70 increase in minimum wage will be a costly raise for their employees; a cost that will probably be passed on to you.

For Susan and Brian Willis, owning a small business is a constant grind.

"Can't be superwoman, got to hire some help," said Susan, who co-owns Espresso-Oh! with her husband.

But hiring that help is going to be harder because the old bottom line. "It'll be difficult because that's a significant jump," Brian said.

That jump is coming in the form of a .70 cent increase in minimum wage, which will see it go from $5.85 to $6.55.

"That's a big jump, a big leap in payroll," Susan said, especially for millions of small business owners who are walking a fine line between staying afloat or sinking.

"We tried to budget for it, but with this economy today; it's gonna’ be tough," Brian said.

Consider this; the Department of Labor says inflation is up 5% this year. So is the cost of food. And, then there's energy, it's up 25%.

It may be tough for the Willis family, but it's going to be a big help for people like Heather Linck who already struggling to make ends meet.

"It's a matter of balancing everything. You have to look through your checkbook and look at how much you're spending on gas," said Heather, who works over at the North Augusta YMCA in between her schooling.

But the money to pay for raises for the two million other Americans like Heather who are on minimum wage has to come from somewhere. And in many cases, it'll come out of your pocket.

Something the Willis family is trying to avoid.

"We're gonna’ find a way, make a way or go down trying," Susan said.

This will not be the last minimum wage increase either. There will be one more in a year when it goes up another 70 cents to $7.25.

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