Nov. 6, 2018 —Arkansas business owners today celebrated the passage of Issue 5, the ballot initiative that will raise the minimum wage to $11 by 2021. Business owners say raising the minimum wage will help workers afford the basics, boost consumer spending, lower employee turnover, reduce hiring and training costs, increase productivity, improve customer satisfaction, and strengthen the economy.
Issue 5 will gradually raise Arkansas’ current minimum wage of $8.50 an hour to $9.25 on Jan. 1, 2019, $10 in 2020, and $11 in 2021.
“Arkansas business owners know the minimum wage has been too low for too long and needs a boost. They understand the connection between a strong wage floor and strong consumer demand, which is why they support Issue 5,” said Holly Sklar, CEO of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage. “Workers are also customers, and increased pay means increased consumer buying power, as well as lower employee turnover and improved productivity.”
Business leaders who support Issue 5 include:
Margot Dorfman, CEO of the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce, said, “Raising the minimum wage to $11 by 2021 will be a win-win for Arkansas businesses and workers. It will help small businesses like my members by putting more money in the pockets of customers, which will boost spending up and down Main Street. Raising the minimum wage to a more realistic level helps level the playing field for businesses like my members who treat employees fairly and invest in the communities they are rooted in.”
Aaron “Blake” Ralston, Owner of Ralston Agency with offices in Little Rock and Fort Smith, said, “Raising the minimum wage is important insurance for businesses as well as workers. It will enable many more workers to make ends meet and it will boost the consumer spending that businesses depend on to survive and grow.”
Capi Peck, Owner of Trio’s Restaurant in Little Rock, said, “I’ve seen firsthand how paying fair wages is good for business. It’s why I support raising Arkansas’ minimum wage. Our low turnover is invaluable from a bottom line and customer service perspective. Increasing the minimum wage will give needed raises to workers who will then have more to spend as customers.”
Meg Sebastian, CEO of Sebastian Tech Solutions in Jonesboro, said, “As one of the few defense contractors here in Jonesboro, my goal is to bring jobs here by building a defense and technology sector in Jonesboro. If we want Arkansas to have more STEM jobs and encourage companies to invest and reinvest in our state for the long term, we need to have a strong, productive workforce – and raising the minimum wage is a key building block.”
Steve Svendson, Owner of Svendson Agency in Rogers, said, “Raising the minimum wage will produce a virtuous cycle of increased economic activity across Arkansas. When people earn more as employees, they are able to spend more as customers. It’s a win-win for working families and businesses. I know from experience that businesses built with fair pay have happier employees and happier customers. That’s a formula for success.”
Jamesia Givan, Owner of JLG Consulting in Little Rock, said, “As a consultant for small and mid-sized businesses, I want those businesses to have a thriving customer base and engaged staff so they can succeed and continue to grow. Raising the minimum wage isn’t just the right thing to do for Arkansas residents, it’s the right thing to do for Arkansas businesses and our entire state economy.”
Arkansas business owners who supported raising the minimum wage are available for comment.
Business for a Fair Minimum Wage is a national network of business owners and executives and business organizations that believe a fair minimum wage makes good business sense.
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