Business Owners Welcome Minimum Wage Increase

For Immediate Release

Business for a Fair Minimum Wage
Contact: 

Bob Keener, 617-610-6766, bobkeener@comcast.net

Business Owners Welcome Minimum Wage Increase

Raising minimum wage will help economy, say national business leaders and small business owners from states affected by July 24 increase

BOSTON - Business owners across the nation are welcoming the
July 24 increase in the federal minimum wage from $6.55 to $7.25. National
business leaders and small business owners in states where workers are getting
a raise say the increase will boost consumer buying power and promote economic
recovery.

"A minimum wage increase at
this time could be the most important factor in powering our economy out of the
recession," said Camille Caramor, owner of a paralegal service and Christmas
tree farm in Louisiana. "The higher
the wage an employee receives, the more income he or she has to purchase goods
and services for their family, which is indeed ‘the best medicine' for our
economy." More than 8% of workers will be affected by the minimum wage increase
in Louisiana.

Richard Ketring, president of
VHS Cleaning Services in Ashland, Wisc.
said, "When we raise the incomes of the lowest paid employees the money is
immediately spent and flows instantly into the economy. The increased income
can also make for more reliable workers as it reduces the stress that many
minimum wage workers experience as they work extra jobs, juggle day care, work
when sick or don't receive needed medical care -- causing further distress
later. I support the minimum wage increase not only because it is the right
thing to do, but it is good for business." More than 7% of Wisc. workers will
receive a raise.

U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce CEO Margot Dorfman said, "Now, more than ever, it's
imperative that employees are paid a fair minimum wage. It is an unsustainable
and dangerous downward spiral to push American workers into poverty and expect
taxpayers to pick up the bill for the consequences. Minimum wage laws guarantee
to taxpayers that businesses are playing fair and compensating workers at
responsible levels."

One out of ten workers will
be affected by the minimum wage increase in Texas. "I cannot understand how we expect families to exist without
a national wage scale that is a livable wage. Workers' families have to eat
too," said Bernard Rapoport, founder and chairman emeritus of American Income
Life Insurance Company, headquartered in Waco, TX.

Richard Johnson, president of
Associated Merchant Services in Nashville,
Tenn
. said, "I'm for a higher minimum wage. There is no rational reason why
our society should allow some people to earn enough to own five mansions while
those who pick their fruit, do their laundry and pick up their garbage can't
even afford a small house. Picking fruit and picking up garbage is hard work,
and why shouldn't someone who is willing to do that be rewarded with enough
income to enjoy a decent lifestyle?" More than 6% of Tenn. workers will get a
raise with the minimum wage increase.

Nearly 1,000 business owners
and executives including Costco CEO
Jim Sinegal, U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce CEO Margot Dorfman, ABC Home
CEO
and 2009 Home Fashion Products
Association Retailer of the Year
Paulette
Cole, Addus Healthcare CEO
Mark Heaney, Credo Mobile President
Michael Kieschnick, Business Alliance for Local Living
Economies
Co-Founder Doug Hammond, and small
business owners from all 50 states
-- have signed a statement supporting
the minimum wage increase. As the Business For a Fair Minimum Wage
statement points out, "Higher wages benefit business by increasing consumer
purchasing power, reducing costly employee turnover, raising productivity, and
improving product quality, customer satisfaction and company reputation."

With more than 60 local
networks in the U.S. representing tens of thousands of locally owned
businesses, the Business Alliance for
Local Living Economies
(BALLE) is the world's fastest growing network of
economically and environmentally sustainable businesses. Michael Shuman, BALLE
director of research and public policy, said, "In the view of our members,
raising the minimum wage to $7.25 is an overdue step in providing a decent,
fair livelihood to American workers and creating a truly ‘living economy.'"

"Anyone who thinks the
minimum wage shouldn't be raised should try living on it," said Phillip Rubin,
CEO of Computer Software for Professionals in Oakland, CA.

"I am a small business owner
in Boise, Idaho who strongly
supports the increased minimum wage," said Scot McGavin, owner of Puentes Language Programs. "Every person
should have enough incentive that investing of themselves in their work will
allow them to provide for themselves and their family. This extra income will
benefit many in our society since it will be reinvested back into the economy."
According to the Economic Policy Institute, nearly 9% of Idaho workers will get
a raise when the minimum wage goes up.

Beverly Johnson, legislative
chair of Kansas Business and
Professional Women
said, "We are all in this together. People working hard
and responsibly should be paid an amount valuing their personal human dignity.
For example, we need 'ditch diggers.' I don't want to dig ditches. If I want my
ditches to be dug, then I should not be paying the least amount that a
'desperate' person will work for. I must pay fairly in a way that will assure
he can afford necessities and preserve his human dignity -- even if it means I
earn a little less." More than 8% of Kansas workers will receive a raise.

"It's a myth that a minimum
wage increase kills job development," said Lya Sorano, founder of Atlanta Women in Business. "To get out
of this recession, we need more money to circulate. That happens when people
get bigger paychecks, who today can't afford to buy the goods and services they
need -- goods and services from some of the same people who seem to be opposed
to the increase." Nearly 7% of workers will see a raise in Georgia.

"The stress of poverty puts
the mind in a place of worry instead of work," said Nancy Denker, owner of
Focus Ink in Albuquerque, NM.
"Living on a shoestring is not the best incentive for workers. Business owners
must realize that as our community prospers, so will business."

The first federal minimum
wage was legislated during the Great Depression to boost wages to ease the
hardship of workers and increase the consumer purchasing power needed for job
creation and economic recovery. With the economy in the worst crisis since the
Depression, the minimum wage increase plays the same role today. Business
leaders say that putting a stronger wage floor under workers will put a
stronger foundation under our economy and our country.

"History has proven time and
again that increasing the minimum wage increases purchasing power among people
who are living hand to mouth and must therefore spend the additional income on
necessities -- food, clothing, transportation and so on," said Arnold Hiatt,
chairman of the Stride Rite
Foundation and former CEO of the Stride Rite Corporation. "What better way to
increase demand for the goods and services that businesses urgently need."

The minimum wage was not
increased for ten years from 1997 to 2007 -- the longest period in history
without a raise. Even with the raise to $7.25, workers will still make less
than the $7.93 they made in 1956, adjusting for inflation.

Miranda Magagnini, Co-Ceo of
IceStone, the award-winning Brooklyn, NY-based
manufacturer of sustainable durable surfaces, said, "We pay living wages at
IceStone plus medical benefits because we do not believe folks can ‘live' on
minimum wage -- especially without health insurance. A raise in the minimum is
a move in the right direction, but $7.25 an hour is $2.75 lower than it should
be."

"We cannot build a strong
21st century economy on a 1950s' wage floor. We cannot build a strong 21st
century economy when more and more hardworking Americans struggle to make ends
meet," business leaders say in the statement at www.businessforafairminimumwage.org.
"A fair minimum wage is a sound investment in the future of our communities and
our nation."

"A fair minimum wage protects
the middle class and gives entry level workers some economic breathing room,"
said Lew Prince, CEO and co-owner of Vintage Vinyl in St. Louis, MO. "When everyone is feeling insecure, rebuilding our
economy starts with showing hard-working Americans that their time has value
and their work will be rewarded. If we want to put the great American success
story back on track, all of us need to feel that we have access to that
opportunity."

The statement supporting the
minimum wage increase and a List of
Signatories By State
is available at http://www.businessforafairminimumwage.org/signatories.
To arrange interviews with
businesspeople
, contact
Bob Keener at 617-610-6766, bobkeener@comcast.net.

###

Business for a Fair Minimum Wage is a project of Business for Shared Prosperity, which mobilizes business support for policies that expand opportunity, reduce inequality, promote innovation, entrepreneurship and sustainability, and rebuild our nation's infrastructure for enduring progress.

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