Reaction to President's Plan to Raise Minimum Wage - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Reaction to President's Plan to Raise Minimum Wage

Reaction to President's Plan to Raise Minimum Wage

President Obama is proposing an increase in the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $9.00, saying that more money for workers will mean more money in the economy. In 2011, more than five-percent of the nation's work force was at or below minimum wage. In Georgia, that number was even higher. More than 9 percent of hourly workers made minimum wage or less in 2011.

While putting more money into people's pockets is good in theory, one Savannah business owner says it could bring problems with it. "When you increase minimum wage, people get paid more, but everything costs more," says John Skiljan who owns Bicycle Link.

Skiljan has only five employees and says he's always paid more than minimum wage. "Because we look for a skilled employee, somebody that has sales experience or bicycle mechanical experience," he says.

You might assume Skiljan would support a mandate to raise minimum wage, but he doesn't. He thinks business owners need to be able to decide what to pay employees and why. "Anybody that uses minimum wage employees would have to raise their prices to make up for the added costs in labor," he says. "The pizza parlors have to raise the cost for their pizzas, the hamburger joints have to raise their hamburger prices."

On Wednesday, the president was out selling his minimum wage plan, saying a full time worker on minimum wage earns about $14,500 a year, not enough to keep a household going. And while there's acknowledgement that a lot of people are trying to raise families on minimum wage, , there's far less agreement on what should happen next. "We are a free marketplace, says Skiljan. "I think it should be whatever the market will bear

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