Poll: Small Businesses Support Minimum Wage Hike
A new poll finds that the majority of small-business owners support an increase in the federal minimum wage, but one association disputes the findings.
More than two-thirds of entrepreneurs support increasing the federal minimum wage and adjusting it annually to keep up with the cost of inflation, according to a poll by Small Business Majority, a national small-business advocacy group.
The survey also found that the majority of small-business owners think a minimum wage hike to $7.25 would make low-income consumers more likely to spend money, driving up demand for small firms’ products. Eighty-five percent of small-business owners pay their employees more than the minimum wage, and another 65 percent believe that an increase would help decrease pressure on taxpayer-financed government assistance that’s needed to make up for low wages.
Minimum Wage Hike: Groups in favor
“The vast majority of small-business owners already pay their workers more than the minimum wage in order to attract and retain quality workers. By raising it across the board, more Americans will have more money to spend at small businesses,” John Arensmeyer, founder and CEO of Small Business Majority, said in a statement.
Clifton Broumand, owner of Man and Machine in Landover, Maryland, said in a statement that his company pays his workers more because “the current minimum wage isn’t sustainable,” and that upping the current wage would put more money in consumers’ pockets and they’d be more likely to spend it at small businesses.
President Barack Obama proposed a $2.75 hike in the minimum wage in his State of the Union address in February. A bill to raise it to $10.10 was defeated in the House of Representatives in March.
“I’m not surprised the poll indicates strong business support for increasing the minimum wage. That’s what our members have told us,” Greater New York Chamber of Commerce CEO Mark Jaffe said in a press release. “It makes good economic sense. A minimum wage increase will boost the consumer demand that spurs businesses to hire and grow.”
One association opposed
However, not all associations are hearing the same enthusiasm for a minimum wage increase. The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), an organization representing 350,000 entrepreneurs, was skeptical of the poll results. “We’re hearing from our members that they want more flexibility to structure the workforce as they need to,” said Holly Wade, senior policy analyst for NFIB, in Forbes. “Lifting wages also limits the options for entry-level positions—and for those people still looking for a job.”
Forbes also uncovered that 23 percent of the survey sample were sole proprietors, who don’t have a stake in what the minimum wage is.