The push to raise the minimum wage has been a topic of hot debate in recent months, and it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere.
While the talking points of either side may be compelling in their own right, one of the core arguments against the raise has recently come into question.
Many opponents of this movement argue that a pay bump for minimum wage workers would harm small businesses.
However, a new poll (PDF) from Small Business Majority shows that small business owners not only disagree with this opinion, but actually support the minimum wage increase.
Small Business Majority’s scientific opinion poll found that 60 percent of small business owners support raising the federal minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020, and then continuing to adjust it with cost of living increases, with 45 percent strongly supporting this change.
This isn’t the first time polls have found that business owners support a federal raise.
In fact, Small Business Majority conducted similar polls in both 2013 and 2014 and discovered that the overwhelming majority of business owners had similar feelings.
But if the welfare of small businesses is one of the central tenets of the anti-raise argument, why are their opinions so different?
Why the Support?
Surprisingly, respondents of the poll were primarily Republican, highlighting the fact that the results were not politically or ideologically skewed.
Rather, the majority of these small business owners strongly believed that raising the federal minimum wage would increase the discretionary income of many low wage workers, resulting in more dollars spent with local businesses.
Some argue that if these business owners believe so strongly in paying their employees more, they can voluntarily do this without a federal mandate.
While the study found that 50 percent of the respondents already pay their employees $12 an hour or more, small-scale implementation wouldn’t have the desired effects.
In order for the economy to be strongly impacted by a higher paid working class, a wide majority of minimum wage workers would have to be making $12 an hour. This simply isn’t possible with a sample size of 50 percent of small businesses.
This change won’t only benefit small businesses, of course, but will also stimulate the American economy as a whole. With the support of the majority of small business owners, the chances of there being a higher federal minimum wage are good.
Cities like Seattle are already taking the steps to close the income gap and it’s only a matter of time before others follow suit.
Does your small business support the minimum wage increase?
Wage Protest Photo via Shutterstock
There is conflicting data out of Seattle on rising the minium wage to 15. Now, some business at still at 11.50 and some have closed while others have not There is a comic book in San Francisco that can’t handle the rise and had to rise money. A better solution’s would have been tax breaks for smaller companies and restaurants which are more sensitive to the rise La garment industry may leave.
Thanks for your input, Cynthia. I know many SMB owners share your viewpoint. There doesn’t seem to be a one-wage-fits-all solution…
It sounds good for employees. But what they don’t know is that several businesses cannot meet the standards when it is raised and they have no choice but to close its doors which is quite sad especially if the business provides an interesting product or service.
Thanks for reading and commenting, Aira. I agree, it’s a double-edged sword. It will be interesting to see how it pans out.
I’m curious to know that types of businesses made up the 50-business sample reflected in the article. It stated that most paid their employees >$12 already which makes me think it’s either prof svc firms or some of the trades. I can’t see Mom & Pop’s bagels or Joe’s Sporting Goods paying their cashiers $12/hr and that’s who it’s going to affect the most. If you have a lot of workers – think the local hardware store, supermarket, dry cleaner, etc. – making the current min wage and you nearly double their pay, that’s a HUGE burden on the business owner. The major national chains – Sport Authority, PetSmart, etc. – can absorb the additional cost (even make it up with increased sales due to the Sm Biz having to raise their prices) but the small businesses can’t.