SBA’s Small Business Owners of the Year Call for Federal Minimum Wage Hike

Owners named by the U.S. Small Business Administration as Louisiana and Maine’s 2016 Small Business People of the Year call on lawmakers to increase federal minimum wage to at least $12 by 2020

CONTACT: Bob Keener, 617-610-6766bob@businessforafairminimumwage.org or Erin Musgrave, 530-864-7014erin@erinmusgravecommunications.com

Washington, D.C., May 4, 2016 —The business owners named by the U.S. Small Business Administration as Louisiana and Maine’s 2016 Small Business People of the Year are calling on lawmakers to increase the federal minimum wage to at least $12 by 2020. In honor of National Small Business Week, policymakers across the country have been praising our nation’s primary job creators this week. But many lawmakers aren’t listening to what entrepreneurs really want out of Washington—policies that will give the economy a much-needed boost.

Increasing the federal minimum wage is one such policy, according to Angela O’Byrne, Louisiana’s 2016 Small Business Person of the Year and first runner up for National Small Business Person of the Year, and Margo Walsh, Maine’s 2016 Small Business Person of the Year. 

"Our country's minimum wage has been stagnant for too long,” said O’Byrne, president of Perez, APC, an architecture firm headquartered in New Orleans that employs more than 50 employees. “Miring full-time workers in poverty makes absolutely no sense from a business perspective. Paying fair wages boosts consumer demand and spending, which drives job creation and forges stronger businesses and communities. Gradually increasing the federal minimum wage to at least $12 by 2020 will create an economic ripple effect benefitting businesses large and small.”

“The minimum wage is keeping workers stuck and struggling in poverty. Most policymakers have no idea how hard it really is,” said Walsh, owner of MaineWorks LLC, a Portland, Maine-based temporary labor staffing company specializing in the field of industrial construction and providing opportunities for employees reentering the workforce. “Raising the minimum wage to at least $12 is vital to making a living even possible. When employees are compensated fairly for their work, they’re more productive and our businesses, our customer base, our tax base and our communities are healthier.”

Both O’Byrne and Walsh signed Business for a Fair Minimum Wage’s sign on letter supporting a federal increase to at least $12 by 2020, which has been signed by hundreds of businesses across the country—from giants like Stonyfield Farm and Ben & Jerry’s to small mom-and-pops, including former SBA Small Business People of the Year winners such as the 2014 winners in Colorado, Illinois and Kentucky.

“Once a year during National Small Business Week we honor small business owners—the hardworking men and women who create the majority of new jobs in our country and invest every day in their local economies. But lawmakers should be honoring these business owners throughout the year by implementing policies that will help them thrive,” said Holly Sklar, CEO of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage. “Workers are consumers, and small businesses need customers who can afford what they’re selling. Raising the minimum wage will boost consumer demand, and businesses will see cost savings from lower employee turnover and benefit from increased productivity and customer satisfaction. It’s an economic win-win for everyone.”

More than 35 million workers would see increased wages if the federal minimum wage were raised to $12 by 2020 (that’s more than one out of four workers). The average age of affected workers is 36 years old and nearly half have at least some college experience, according to the Economic Policy Institute. The average affected worker would earn about $2,300 more a year. The most rigorous studies of the impact of actual minimum wage increases show they do not cause job loss.

Editors Note: O’Byrne and Walsh are available for interviews and broadcast bookings. To schedule an interview with them or other SBA award winners, contact Erin Musgrave at erin@erinmusgravecommunications.com or 530-864-7014 or Bob Keener at bob@businessforafairminimumwage.org or 617-610-6766.

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Business for a Fair Minimum Wage is a national network of business owners and executives who believe a fair minimum wage makes good business sense.

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