Increasing Minimum Wage Would Hammer Georgia Small Businesses

Date: March 18, 2014 Last Edit: September 07, 2016

Federal government could raise wage, despite little support in state legislature

Efforts to hike Georgia’s minimum wage never really got off the ground in the state legislature this year, though a bill to increase it was introduced. Republicans in the state legislature, many of them small business owners, were adamant in their opposition. However, there is a serious push at the national level to increase the minimum wage. President Obama, for example, has called for raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, and legislation to that effect has been introduced in the Senate. While a federal wage increase appears unlikely this election year, the Democrats are making it a key plank in the mid-term election platform.

What It Means for Georgia's Small Businesses:

Whether an increase comes from the federal or state government, a minimum wage increase would have a significant downside for Georgia’s small businesses. NFIB opposes an increase in the federal minimum wage, arguing that raising it to $10.10 would cost hundreds of thousands of jobs, a view backed up by the Congressional Budget Office, which estimates that it would cost the nation 500,000 jobs.

Kyle Jackson, NFIB’s Georgia director, stressed that the state’s small businesses would bear the brunt of the minimum wage increase burden, saying, “The minimum wage increase always disproportionately impacts small businesses versus large businesses, because it’s more likely that a small employer is going to pay somebody around the minimum wage.”

Meanwhile, Express Employment Professionals, a staffing firm, surveyed business owners nationwide, and among those that pay the current minimum wage, 38 percent said they would have to lay off some workers to cover the costs of an increase to $10.10 an hour, while 54 percent said they would reduce hiring and 65 percent would raise prices.

Further Reading:

The Athens Banner-Herald covered the state legislature’s consideration of a minimum wage increase. The Augusta Chronicle ran a report detailing how small businesses would suffer from a wage increase. The Augusta Chronicle also published an editorial opposing a federal minimum wage increase. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports on the Express Employment Professionals survey, as did WAGA-TV.

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