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Minimum wage issue stresses some firms

by By Stephanie Armour, USA TODAY - 12/11/2006
 
"In the wake of Democratic gains in Congress in this week's elections, small-business owners are bracing for the potential effects of a higher federal minimum wage, the first such increase since 1997.
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In the wake of Democratic gains in Congress in this week's elections, small-business owners are bracing for the potential effects of a higher federal minimum wage, the first such increase since 1997.

Organizations such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which have fought a wage increase, say small-business owners would be required to pay more, forcing them to shed workers and hampering economic growth.

But some business owners say there would be little impact because they already pay above the federal minimum of $5.15 an hour.

More than 20 states have minimum wages above the federal level. Nearly half of small-business owners favor an increase in the minimum wage, according to a 2006 Gallup Organization survey.

"The actual minimum wage doesn't affect us," says Kimberly Human, an administrator at Allied General Contracting, in Redlands, Calif., which pays above minimum wage under an apprenticeship hiring program.

"I know this whole issue is going to be a huge debate," she says, "but it's not an effect."

More than 5 million workers would benefit from a minimum-wage increase, according to a 2004 analysis by the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal think tank.

Kevin Beary, owner of Safeside Chimney and Duct Cleaning in East Hartford, Conn., says he and other business owners aren't concerned about a higher federal minimum wage. The state minimum wage in Connecticut is $7.40.

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More Details: http://www.usatoday.com/money/smallbusiness/2006-11-09-minimum-wage-usat_x.htm
 
 
 
 
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