Small business owners say minimum wage hike might lead to you paying more

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COLUMBIA - Back in November, Missourians voted to pass Proposition B, which would increase the minimum wage over the next four years to where it will eventually reach $12.

Since January 1, the wage increased by 75 cents from $7.85 to $8.60 and there have been mixed reactions since it was passed. Employees and small business owners are on two opposite ends: One favors Prop B, while the other thinks that this could sink a business. 

Claire Johnson, an employee at Maude Vintage, believes Prop B is having a great effect on those who work for minimum wage, like herself.

"I think it's great for people who have to work two or three jobs just to get by and live a normal life," Johnson said. "This is just one step we can take to help people in our community."

Other employees in mid-Missouri said they, too, are pleased with the wage increase.

"It's honestly great because I just get more money in my pocket at the end of the day. I feel more secure," Lauren Laughlin, a waitress at Buffalo Wild Wings, said. 

Even though some mid-Missourians are excited about the effects of Prop B, small business owners are quick to judge the plan.

"I think restaurants are being hit especially hard," Justin Heintz said, the owner of Le Boa Asian Bistro. Local restaurants, like ourselves, are already operating on razor thin margins, so because of that we only have a couple of things we can do." 

Heintz said he wishes he could pay all his employees $20 an hour and he is left to do one of three things.

"We will have to lower our labor costs. We can eliminate non essential positions or combine existing positions. We could also schedule fewer hours for each employee. At the end of the day we would probably have to raise prices to make ends meet."

Heintz predicts that in the near future, he sees some small businesses in mid-Missouri to fail and possibly shutdown.

The next increase due to Proposition B will be in 2020 when the minimum wage will go up to $9.45.