OKC Business Owner Discusses Impact Of Minimum Wage Hike

Wednesday, January 29th 2014, 10:52 pm
By: News 9

President Obama says he wants to raise the minimum wage, but some small business owners in our state are worried that may hurt their bottom lines, and in some cases, put them out of business.

The increase would be from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour. Some economists say the announcement of a possible pay hike is a good step going forward and it will change a number of things. Meanwhile, some small business owners say they simply can't afford it.

At Which Wich superior sandwiches in Edmond, business is good. But the president's recent proposal of a minimum wage hike could force the small business to lay off employees, or better yet, close up shop.

"Any increase anywhere makes it tough for us," said Which Wich owner, Cody Anderson.

Anderson says they've already been hit will fuel surcharging, and bad weather in parts of Mexico affecting prices of fresh produce. 

"By all means, I wish I could pay them $20 per hour," said Anderson. "It's just not possible."

A pay increase would mean Anderson would either have to raise prices, or go out of business.

"We're selling sandwiches. It's a small business. We're not a big corporate giant that can absorb these costs," said Anderson.

"He doesn't choose to take a reduction in his income," said economist Jonathan Willner.

The hope is for Congress to act quickly to raise minimum wage.

"This may actually stimulate, if it was passed, stimulate consumption sufficiently to start employment actually increasing," said Willner. "But, it's going to be a very delicate effort to try to do that. Everything would have to work out just right."

"It's going to put a strain on not just us, the small business owners, but also the employees," said Anderson.

The President says he will sign an executive order in the coming weeks to raise the federal minimum wage for employees on new federal contracts. News 9 is told, that would only affect about half a million people.