Business owners across the country are looking forward to the boost in consumer spending, lower employee turnover, and increased productivity and customer satisfaction that will come with various state and local minimum wage increases taking effect in July. These include Maryland, Oregon, Washington, DC, Chicago, Lexington and Louisville, KY, as well as Los Angeles, Pasadena, San Diego, San Francisco, and other California cities.
Business owners supportive of an increase in the minimum wage are available for interviews.
Raising the minimum wage will provide the economy with a cash infusion that will strengthen local businesses and communities. Gradually raising minimum wages will mean a more stable, productive workforce as well as increased consumer buying power.
Business for a Fair Minimum Wage members in these areas spoke out in support for the increases:
Freddy Peralta, owner, KyTrade Computer Services, in Lexington, KY, said, “An increased minimum wage is very important for our communities. Every worker deserves a decent wage for their hard work. Small businesses will benefit with more consumer demand for their products and services and more dedicated employees to provide them."
Liza and Reed Braude-Glidden, co-owners of Beanfields Snacks, Los Angeles, said, “When our customers, and potential customers, have more income, it shows in our sales. Paying our employees a living wage gives us low turnover, increased productivity, greater customer satisfaction—and a healthier bottom line. It’s our mission to make snacks that taste great and are good for you. A higher minimum wage is good for our customers and the economy.”
Jerome Dodson, President of Parnassus Investments in San Francisco, said, “I’ve seen firsthand that paying good wages are a good investment for business. I manage our Parnassus Endeavor Fund, a mutual fund investing exclusively in companies regarded as great places to work. The Endeavor Fund has delivered better returns for investors than the S&P 500 index and has been in the top of its category over the past decade. Raising the minimum wage creates an economic ripple effect that will show in businesses’ bottom lines and in a better economy.”
Elizabeth Colon, the owner of Metaphrasis Language & Cultural Solutions in Chicago, and the 2014 Illinois Small Business Person of the Year, said, “Raising the minimum wage is good for business and good for Chicago. Poverty wages don't just hurt workers, they weaken the consumer buying power that businesses depend on. Increasing the minimum wage will help neighborhoods across Chicago and strengthen our economy.”
Scott Nash, owner and CEO of MOM’s Organic Market in Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia, said, “Raising the minimum wage is good business strategy. Paying a higher wage is a high-return strategic investment that leads to a more productive, engaged and dedicated workforce. Customers notice the difference, and love shopping at stores with engaged employees.”
Carmen Ortiz Larsen, President of AQUAS Inc. and Chair of the Board of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Montgomery County, Maryland, said, “We want government to strengthen the economy with policies supportive of small business growth and sustainability so that we can create good jobs and thrive. Raising the minimum wage does just that. Poverty wages, by contrast, undermine employee performance and retention, weaken our economy, burden our public assistance systems, and hurt families. People of color, women and the disabled are disproportionately impacted by low wages. Maryland is right to raise the wage floor, and a federal minimum wage raise is long overdue.”
Gary Watrous, President, Watrous Associates Architects in Louisville, KY, said, “Raising the minimum wage will help us build our economy. It is vital for revitalizing neighborhoods where workers are struggling to afford housing and other basics, and businesses need customers with more money to spend.”
Brian England, owner of British American Auto Care, Columbia, Maryland, whose awards include Maryland Small Business of the Year, said, “Paying our employees a fair wage has been vital in providing the customer service that drives our success. Raising the minimum wage is vital for Maryland. Minimum wage pay increases go straight back into businesses as Marylanders have more money to spend in their communities.”
Dimitri Syrkin-Nikolau, founder of Dimo's Pizza in Chicago, said, “While transitions can be tough, a shift in mentality greatly helps one understand the necessity of a rise in the minimum wage. If we are going to be serious about creating an economic environment that allows for the continued prosperity, well-being, and happiness of our citizens, we need to ensure a wage that allows people to thrive.”
Holly Sklar, CEO of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage, said, “July 1 is an important milestone in raising the minimum wage across our country to benefit businesses, customers and local economies. The federal minimum wage by contrast has been stuck at just $7.25 since July 24, 2009. Congress should follow the forward thinking example set by a growing number of cities and states and raise the federal minimum wage so all Americans can benefit from a strong wage floor.”
Scheduled Increases in July:
- Maryland increases on July 1 from $8.25 to $8.75, with future increases to $10.10 by 2018
- Oregon increases on July 1 from $9.25 to $9.75 except for non-urban counties where it goes to $9.50. Future rates for three geographic areas are summarized here.
- Chicago increases on July 1 from $10 to $10.50, with future increases to $13 in 2019
- Louisville, KY increases from $7.75 to $8.25 on July 1, with future increases to $9 by 2017
- Lexington, KY increases from $7.25 to $8.20 on July 1, with future increases to $10.10 by 2018
- Washington, DC increases from $10.50 to $11.50 on July 1, with future increases to $15 by 2020
- The City of Los Angeles increases from $10 to $10.50 on July 1, with future increases to $15 by 2020 for businesses with 26 or more employees; businesses with 25 or fewer employees have an extra year to comply starting with $10.50 on July 1, 2017
- Los Angeles County increases from $10 to $10.50 in unincorporated areas on July 1, with future increases to $15 by 2020 for businesses with 26 or more employees; businesses with 25 or fewer employees have an extra year to comply starting with $10.50 on July 1, 2017
- Pasadena increases on July 1 from $10 to $10.50 on July 1 for employers with 26 or more employees; businesses with 25 or fewer employees have an extra year to comply starting with $10.50 onJuly 1, 2017
- San Diego increases from $10 to $10.50 in July (exact date to be determined), with future increases to $11.50 in 2017
- San Francisco increases on July 1 from $12.25 to $13 on July 1, with future increases to $15 by 2018
- El Cerrito increases from $10 to $11.60 on July 1, with future increases to $15 in 2019
- Santa Monica increases from $10 to $10.50 on July 1, with future increases to $15 by 2020 for businesses with 26 or more employees (smaller businesses have an extra year)
- Sunnyvale increases from $10.30 to $11 on July 1, with future increases to $15 by 2018
- Emeryville increases from $12.25 to $13 on July 1 for small businesses with 55 or fewer employees (with scheduled increases to $15 in 2018) and from $14.44 to $14.82 for businesses with 56 or more employees. Small business rates will increase in increments until 2019, at which point the small business rate will match the large business minimum wage rate and both will be increased every July 1 by the local Consumer Price Index.
To schedule an interview with a business owner supportive of an upcoming increase, contact:
Bob Keener Bob Keener, 617-610-6766, firstname.lastname@example.org for Chicago, Maryland and Kentucky.
Erin Musgrave at email@example.com or 530-864-7014 for California and Washington DC
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. www.businessforafairminimumwage.org.