A new survey of small business owners finds the majority favor an increase of the federal minimum wage.
It has been widely reported that Republicans contend President Obama's proposed hike to the federal minimum wage would be a job-killer. But that's not how Republican small business owners feel, if a new poll released by the Small Business Majority is any indication.
John Arensmeyer is the founder and CEO of the Washington, D.C. based organization. "The poll found that the majority of small business owners support raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 and adjusting it yearly to reflect the cost of living.”
The actual number of businesses surveyed supporting the wage hike up from the $7.25 rate that took effect in 2009 in three steps over two-and-a-half years to $10.10 was 57 percent. Aresnmeyer pointed out that 47 percent identified themselves as Republicans, 35 percent as Democrats and 18 percent as independents. Eighty-two percent said they already pay all their workers more than the current federal minimum wage.
Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project, wasn't surprised by the survey results. "Increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would boost wages nationally by 32 billion dollars and increase purchasing power by 22 billion dollars and it would create jobs."
In a recent Pew Research Center survey poll on raising the minimum wage, 73 percent of Americans say they support the idea. The survey found 61 percent of owners in the retail/restaurant sector favor the increase.
Dan Moran with NextAct of Colonie warns raising the minimum wage is working against hiring but concedes the survey results may be a harbinger for the future. "Maybe overall, the minimum wage increase is not gonna have as much of a detrimental effect as other costs, like affordable health care, regulatory costs, etc."
Owens says small business owners think otherwise. "They've seen first hand the effects of low wages at big corporate chains in starving communities of the resources they need to sustain robust economic demand and growth. And they know that putting more money into the hands of customers and consumers and their own employees is what's needed in order to create demand for goods and services."
Thirty-five percent of the poll respondents believe raising the minimum wage would help make their business more competitive because competitors won’t be able to undercut them on labor costs. Eighty-two percent revealed they already pay their employees more than the federal minimum wage.
The survey of 500 small business owners was conducted between February 5th and 18th.