Small business owners divided over proposed minimum wage hike - KPTV - FOX 12

Small business owners divided over proposed minimum wage hike

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Lawmakers were set to hear testimony about the impact of a minimum wage hike Thursday night, before taking up the issue during the February legislative session.

Earlier in the day, Governor Kate Brown unveiled her proposal to raise the minimum wage over six years.

Members of the group Raise the Wage rallied outside the State Capitol before the hearing began.

They’re collecting signatures to put a measure raising minimum wage on the November ballot.

Small business owners are divided on the issue.

Peter Emerson, the owner of Bipartisan Café in southeast Portland, supports raising minimum wage.

Each of his 24 employees started out making minimum wage, but received a raise once Emerson decided to keep them on the team. Employees earn more money as they take on more responsibility.

He believes a minimum wage hike will keep more money in the local economy.

“I do believe that we would be taking a significant portion of our population who, right now, is priced out of my café and many of the business up and down the street,” said Emerson, “and give them the opportunity to come in every once in a while.”

But the owner of Darrel’s Mufflers in southeast Portland worries he would be forced to lay off an employee if he is forced to raise minimum wage.

Darrel Hanson said each of his four employees currently makes more than minimum wage.

“Not that I wouldn’t love to do it,” he said. “I have to make a living. Just like they have to work, I have to work.”

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