What Obama's minimum wage increase call, Mid-South - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

What Obama's minimum wage increase call means for the Mid-South

The president's executive order would effectively require businesses awarded new federal contracts to pay federally-funded workers a minimum of $10.10 an hour. The president's executive order would effectively require businesses awarded new federal contracts to pay federally-funded workers a minimum of $10.10 an hour.

(WMC-TV) - President Barack Obama called for a raise in minimum wage for new federal contractors during the State of the Union address Tuesday.

The president's executive order would effectively require businesses awarded new federal contracts to pay federally-funded workers a minimum of $10.10 an hour. He asked business owners and congress to do the same.

Memphian Tamara Williamson says someone cannot support a family on $7.25, which is the current minimum wage. It breaks down to $290 a week and $15,080 a year. That is $5,000 below the average cost of living in Shelby County for one adult.

"It's not a lot of money for a person that's paying bills for one household. No, that's not enough money," said resident Tommie Tucker.

By raising the minimum wage to $10.10, it would raise a worker's income to roughly $21, 008 a year, which is just above what it costs to live in Shelby County.

"People are in poverty, and they get trapped in that cycle of poverty. If this is a way to lift them out of that or attempt to lift them out of that, I think it's a step in the right direction," said Williams.

Small business owners say it is difficult to raise minimum wage. They agree employees deserve a raise, but the funding is not there.

As for the executive order, it would influence fewer than a half a million people and will likely face legal challenges.

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