Small businesses oppose higher minimum wage for Tennessee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Most small-business owners answering an industry group survey said they oppose a move to raise the minimum wage in Tennessee.

The National Federation of Independent Businesses says 78% of its Tennessee members don't want a hike. The survey got a five percent response rate from the state's ten-thousand group members.

The state doesn't have it's own minimum wage and the federal minimum wage of $5.15 was last raised in 1997.

One of several proposals introduced by Democratic lawmakers would set the minimum wage in Tennessee $6.15.

Another would set it a dollar higher. Lawmakers say they will try to reach a consensus on one bill before moving it through the Legislature.

House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh says no one can live on $5.15 an hour.

Federation president Gary Selvy says a higher minimum wage would erect "barriers of entry into the work force."

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)