Businesses Have Mixed Reactions to Proposed Minimum Wage Hike

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COLUMBIA - Business owners and managers in downtown Columbia had mixed reactions Wednesday to a proposal to raise the minimum wage to $10 per hour. 

A Missouri Senate committee voted Tuesday in support of the proposal. Now, the entire Senate has the option to debate whether to increase the minimum wage. 

The state's minimum wage is currently $7.50 an hour, which is above the national average, and many businesses in Columbia pay employees that rate. 

Anne Williams is the President for JobFinders in Columbia. JobFinders helps clients find cost efficient staffing solutions. Williams said she believes everyone should be paid a fair wage but raising the minimum from its current rate to $10 or higher may hurt small and even large businesses.

"I personally feel that raising the rate to $10 or more right now will hurt the economy's growth that we are finally seeing," Williams said. 

One Columbia boutique owner agrees it would hurt her business. Swank Boutique does pay a little bit above minimum wage, but the owner said she would have to cut back on employment significantly and readjust wages if the minimum wage increased by the proposed amount. 

Another downtown Columbia business KOMU 8 News spoke with had a different thought on the issue. 

"It is my responsibility to take care of my workers," said Crystal Midkiff, executive director of Mustard Seed Fair Trade. "People who are paid a fair wage are happier and do a better job."

Midkiff said all of her employees, both full and part-time, receive over the minimum wage. 

Even though the vote did further legislation, there is no guarantee the entire Senate will debate the minimum wage issue.