Oklahomans Debate President's Minimum Wage Increase Proposal

Wednesday, February 13th 2013, 8:36 pm

The minimum wage could be going up a $1.75 an hour. That's if President Obama gets his way.

He proposed to raise the federal minimum wage to $9 last night during his State of the Union speech.

This would be the first increase in the minimum wage since it went to $7.25 an hour in 2009. The President says it will bring millions of people out of poverty,

But opponents say raising the minimum wage will cost jobs and increase what we all pay for goods and services.

Doug Kennon owns the Sooner Legends Inn and Restaurant in Norman. He employees about 75 part and full time people, but pays more than the minimum wage.

"The market's going to always dictate, if you want the best employees, you can't always pay the least," said Kennon.

However, if the minimum wage goes up, the market will force his wages up too, which he will have to pass that on to customers in the form of higher room rates, and food prices.

"We're all going to have increases in prices and we're going to have to pass them on in the end to the customer," said Kennon.

But Matt Smith makes minimum wage, says he has his whole life and with two kids, it's not enough.

"It's hard to live off minimum wage, especially if everything is going up, gas prices are going up, you've got everything going up," he says.

An increase in the minimum wage would mean the difference between $14,500/yr and $18,750/yr.

"It would make a big difference, it would make a big difference for everybody just to be able to live," said Smith.

Kennon says his costs are already going up because of the President's healthcare plan, this would be an additional burden.