Poll: Small businesses support raising minimum wage
April 24, 2013
• Say it would boost consumer spending
• “The economic domino effect raising the minimum wage would have would be significant”
Small business owners would like to see the federal minimum wage increased because it would enhance consumer spending, which can increase the demand for small firms’ goods and services, according to a poll paid for by the lobbying group Small Business Majority.
According to the survey of 500 small business owners whose firms have 100 or fewer employees, the majority agree that raising the minimum wage would allow low-income workers to more easily support themselves, relieving pressure on taxpayer-financed government assistance programs.
The poll, conducted March 4-10 by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, found more than two-thirds of entrepreneurs support increasing the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour and adjusting it annually to keep up with the cost of inflation.
By comparison, California’s minimum wage is currently $8.00 an hour, only the eighth highest in the nation. The state of Washington has the highest at $9.19 an hour. Alabama has the lowest – no state minimum at all, thus pegging the minimum at the federal level.
Additionally, of the small business owners polled, which were predominantly Republican (46 percent identified as Republican, 35 percent as Democrat and 11 percent as independent), a sweeping 85 percent already pay all of their employees more than the federal minimum wage.
"The current minimum wage isn't sustainable, which is why we pay our workers more,” says Clifton Broumand, owner of Man and Machine in Landover, Md. “It's in our best interest as a company to pay more than the current minimum wage because it helps us retain good employees and that has a direct effect on our bottom line."
Two-thirds of small business owners agree increasing the minimum wage would not only help the economy, it would also make low-income consumers more likely to spend money, driving up demand for small firms’ products.
Another 65 percent agree increasing the minimum wage would help decrease pressure on taxpayer-financed government assistance that’s needed to make up for low wages. These entrepreneurs also say it’s not right that people working full time earn just $15,080 a year at the minimum wage — significantly lower than in the 1960s, adjusting for inflation.
“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. This will help them create jobs, which strengthens the economy overall,” says John Arensmeyer, founder and CEO of Small Business Majority. “The economic domino effect raising the minimum wage would have would be significant.”