Minimum wage debate, local business owner weighs in - FOX 10 News |

Minimum wage debate, local business owner weighs in

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President Obama hit the road Wednesday, pushing his plan to raise the minimum wage. He delivered a speech at a Costco in Maryland. The warehouse giant pays entry level employees more than 11 dollars an hour.
"Nobody who works full time should ever have to raise a family in poverty" said President Obama.
Republicans however argue that raising the minimum wage will burden small businesses.
Right now, Arizona's minimum wage is seven dollars and 90 cents an hour. That's 16,432 dollars a year.  If small businesses were to follow the Presidents lead, and started paying $10.10 an hour some employees would earn 21,008 dollars a year.  Roughly 4,500 dollars more a year. Is it a game changer? FOX10 went to a small business to find out.

A  business in the Lopez family for over 30 years, Azteca restaurant on 7th avenue in downtown Phoenix, and a large bakery operation in another location.  In total they employ about 75 people. Owner, Becky would love to pay her employees 10.10 an hour as the President suggests.  "Yes its good, wonderful" FOX10 asked if she wanted to raise the minimum wage and Lopez responded, "Yes I would love to do it".

Azteca employee Melissa earns about 9 dollars an hour here, she also works a second job, so she can afford nursing school, and she lives at home with her parents. How would a raise to 10.10 an hour effect her.  "its definitely good it would help" said Melissa Galaviz. It wouldn't change things dramatically she says. "lets say if I was just to live on 10 dollars an hour I would get one job and then I would have to get another part time somewhere else just because it wouldn't be enough".
Lopez worries that paying higher salaries take a bite out of her businesses bottom line and force her to do something she doesn't want to do, raise prices.
"We market here to the working person, the people that work every day we try to keep our prices low enough for them to come in and have a lunch for 5 or 6 dollars we have a five dollar plate... But if things start effecting us more than they have or they do then we have to raise our prices and who pays the consumer" said Lopez.

Ultimately, it will often be consumer who picks up the tab if business owners raise wages.
Lopez says she wants the government both state and federal to look at other issues effecting hurting small businesses like the tax burden. If they did something in that arena that would be a game changer for businesses.

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