Minimum wage hike in the works: 'In small business it’s hard'

Minimum wage hike in the works: 'In small business it’s hard'

EUGENE, Ore. -- President Barak Obama signed an executive order in mid-February that raised minimum wage for government contract workers from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour.

The order, which goes into effect in 2015, reflects other legislation introduced by Senate Democrats earlier this year calling for an across the board increase of minimum wage.

There hasn’t been a national increase to minimum wage since 2009, when it jumped to $7.25 an hour. Currently Oregon's minimum wage is at $9.10 an hour, second highest in the nation.

Workers that our reporters talked with said they would like to see a bill passed to hike minimum wage.

“I think it should go up,” said Seattle, Washington native Janna Fierst. “Seattle ... originally had a big push to $15 as the minimum wage, and I think that is more of a living level for at least a single person or a family.”

The bill hasn’t hit the Senate floor yet, however some Democrats in congress say it could be in the $9-$10 range.

The congressional budget office estimated that raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would lift around 900,000 people out of poverty, while also taking away more than 500,000 jobs.

Debbie Boyd, who owns Hutch’s Bicycles in Eugene, said in order to keep afloat during a wage hike she might have to let go of some employees.

“In small business it’s hard. It puts more of a tax burden and you can't give enough hours to people because they're making more hours than we can afford,” said Boyd.

“If it’s not set up correctly or indexed to something that makes sense then it artificially drives up the cost for everyone else,” said business owner Dan Egan.