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WA minimum wage hike hurting small businesses

By Anusha Roy, KXLY4 Reporter, anushar@kxly.com
Published On: Dec 27 2012 08:30:32 PM CST
minimum wage increase AP graphic
SPOKANE, Wash. -

Washington has the highest minimum wage in the country and starting next week it's going up again.

Starting Jan. 1 workers in Washington will be paid $9.19 an hour, and some local business owners are saying the higher minimum wage is stealing job opportunities.

Oliver Jones, the owner of MOJO Reprographics, a small digital printing business in Spokane, has poured endless hours into his business for over seven years. It's up to him and one other part time employee to handle everything.

He would love to hire more people, but with a higher minimum wage he says it's simply just not affordable.

"I would love to have some young guy come down, give me a hand who can learn this industry, build skills at a rate that I can afford," Jones said.

The Washington state minimum wage is set to go up to $9.19 in January. It means stagnation for this small business.

"We don't have a chance to negotiate for a wage less than 9.19. That's just not something I can afford," he said.

Sidney Harmon, a server at The Onion, is seeing her base pay rise by 15 cents an hour, but she's also watching the cost of everything else go up with it.

"The price of food going up, the price of everything else going up," Harmon said,

At $9.19 she will still be working two jobs to make ends meet as she goes to school. 

"Minimum wage is not meant to support a family, it's meant to introduce you to the job market and gain and work up from there, she said.

Oregon has the next highest minimum wage in the United States. Next year it will be going up to $8.95.

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