Businesses React to Seattle Minimum Wage

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EUGENE, Ore. — Seattle’s minimum wage is on the rise. Soon, it will be the highest in the country at $15 an hour.

Small businesses in Eugene are split when it comes to the minimum wage debate.

Some say they would be willing to pay their employees more of a livable wage, but others say if they had to pay employees more they might be forced to shut their doors.

The Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce says of the 10,000 businesses in Lane County, 75 percent have 10 or fewer employees. It says these would be the businesses that would feel the biggest pinch if the state increased the minimum wage.

But the owner of Sweet Life Patisserie says it supports raising the minimum wage because it could help the economy.

“Every dollar you put extra in a person’s pocket who is poor, they will spend it in the local economy. And that’s great for the local economy. It’s great for the larger economy,” said Cheryl Reinhart, Sweet Life co-owner.

“Even if it’s well intentioned, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have significant cost and impacts to business,” said Dave Hauser, president of Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce.

One local economist says it’s hard to predict what impacts raising the minimum wage could have because businesses could do a number of different things to make up for the fact that they’re paying employees more, including charging more for services or cutting benefits.


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  1. Greg Gries says:

    I remember quite some years ago working for a minimum wage of a WHOPPING $1.25per hour. And having close friends verbalizing their envy of my being such a lucky so-and-so
    for landing the job. They also tried several modes of conning me into putting in a good word for them with my boss to get the next job available. Over time however, I have learned to expect something to happen to severely “kabosh” the new level of glory that the extra money represented. Good luck to everyone who still have to work for the minimum wage level. It will never be quite the same as having your own successful business.

  2. Dan says:

    If the co-owner of Sweet Life thinks her employees should get a higher wage there’s nothing stopping her from giving it to them. If you really care about increasing entry level job opportunities for young people, then eliminate the minimum wage entirely. Let the market decide what someones wage should be worth, just as it does for everyone receiving above minimum wage does now.

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