COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – In downtown Columbus there are small businesses like Harvey’s Restaurant, Looking Good Clothing Store and Holly Hocks is right behind me. The President says he’ll use an executive order to raise the minimum wage on Federal contracts only. Local businesses and workers had mixed reactions when asked how a nationwide wage increase would affect them.
“Very few people make minimum wage that work in my company. Most people make considerably more than the minimum wage. So I really don’t feel like an increase in minimum wage is necessary,” says John Bean, of the Eat With Us Group.
John Bean has been a small business owner in the Golden Triangle since the early 1980s. He owns and operates Harvey’s, The Grille and Peppers. Bean says if the Federal minimum wage in raised nationwide, business owners would have to cut back.
“We would find ways to minimize the increase in costs for our labor. Which would mean that we would probably hire fewer people. We wouldn’t be able to take chances on some teenagers and things like that. It would mean that we would need to cut back on hours and things like that for existing employees,” says Bean.
Other business owners say the raise wouldn’t change much with how they operate.
“It won’t affect me so much because I only have one employee but normally at holiday time, Christmas time, Easter time, I hire employees,” says Danny Melvani of Looking Good Clothing Store.
LP: If you hire extra employees and the wage has been raised, will it be hard for you?
We also asked everyday working people how they felt about an increase in the minimum wage.
“I know $7 or $7.50, whatever it is right now, does make things tight for people who are trying to make ends meet but if we can afford it, I mean, I would be in favor of it,” says Christie Smith.
“I think it’s a very good thing. It should’ve been raised a long time ago when I was working,” says Eugene Gardner.
Congress would have to approve a Federal wage increase, so until then, the wage will remain $7.25. In Columbus, LaMonica Peters, WCBI News.>
Clearly there are differing opinions about a nationwide wage increase but it looks like wages will be raised for Federal contractors.