Minimum wage proposal could cost Mid-South businesses, jobs - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Minimum wage proposal could cost Mid-South businesses, jobs

(WMC-TV) - President Barack Obama wanting to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $9.00 an hour is one of the most talked about moments from the State of the Union Tuesday.

That would change a lot of things for a lot of people in the Mid-South and nationwide.

As with every story, there are two sides. For employees they like the idea of getting paid more, but employers said that excitement would be short lived if businesses have to raise prices.

Keaton Hamby works for minimum wage at a fast food restaurant in Southaven.

"You don't make as much money as you need to get through life, you have to work harder," said Hamby.

Mike McCune at Avelino's Pizza said he starts his workers out at minimum wage before they work their way up.

If President Obama gets his wish, workers would make at least $9 dollars an hour by 2015.

"It's going to cost me more on the bottom line, and eventually either cost my customers more and us passing along the increase, or it's going to cost jobs," said McCune.

The President's plan aims to keep pace with inflation and would come in spurts.

McCune remembers raising minimum wage for workers to the current rate back in 2009. His company eventually had to raise prices to pay the employees.

"They'll love it until they see the price reflected in their hamburgers and pizzas," said McCune.

Hamby thinks the price for some items may go up, but admits more money in his pocket would help.

"The double whammy of an increase in the minimum wage and the added costs of Obamacare will hurt the economy. More people will lose their jobs because employers cannot afford the additional expenses," said Mississippi Congressman Alan Nunnelee in a statement.

"The way to create jobs is to reduce our unsustainable debt burden and reform the tax code to make America the best place in the world for business," he continued.

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