Some Say A Higher Minimum Wage Means Fewer Jobs - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

6/19/04

Some Say A Higher Minimum Wage Means Fewer Jobs

Five-fifteen isn't enough says Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry.

This week the Massachusetts senator called for an increase in minimum wage to seven dollars an hour.

Some small business owners say the move could do just as much harm as good.

With two part time employees working in her novelty gift shop Donna Williams has mixed feelings about raising minimum wage by nearly two dollars.

"I do believe that minimum wage to go up, but I don't think it's realistic or prudent for a small business owner like myself to incur that sort of jump. I just think it's too large of a jump all at one time," said Williams.

Maryalice Minor believes a seven dollar minimum wage would put small business trying to make a profit track.

She says the majority of people hired by small businesses aren't trying to support their families, they're holiday help, or students looking for summer jobs.

"The students who we would normally hire. Most of them do it for spending money or to buy a car or something and everything just has to be relative to everything else. You don't buy such a good car or you give up something," said Miner. 

At seven dollars an hour, owners predict instead of more higher paying jobsthere will be fewer jobs.

"Most small businesses have just a certain amount of money that they can devote to labor," said Miner.

"If that gets too high in relationship to the amount of sales, then they're not going to be able to hire anybody. The overall picture is that you have to take everything into consideration."

"I would have to adjust staffing levels and really cut back on when I had help in the store," said Williams.

"We're only two years old and we're a growing young business and that would be detrimental to have that sort of increase."

Even with help Williams spends six days a week in the store.

If the cost of doing business goes up too much, she expects to have even more work on her hands.

Senator John Kerry claims that the increase would lift millions of people out of poverty.

He is calling for a $1.85 hike by the year 2007.

by Danielle Thomas

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