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For Immediate Release: January 19, 2007

Contact: Mahdis Keshavarz, Riptide Communications, 212-260-5000

Washington, DC -- Business owners and executives across the nation are telling Congress that a $5.15 minimum wage hurts business, workers and the economy. The House passed a clean bill to raise the minimum wage. Now, it's the Senate's turn.

Speaking today at a Senate press conference, Lew Prince, co-owner of Vintage Vinyl in St. Louis, MO, says, "A minimum wage increase makes straightforward economic sense. It means more money in the hands of people who are going to spend it."

"As a business owner, I know that keeping workers is easier and cheaper than finding and training new workers," Mr. Prince says. "And the longer an employee stays with you, the more they know about your business and the higher their productivity."

Mr. Prince is one of hundreds of businesspeople who have signed the Business Owners and Executives for a Higher Minimum Wage statement released today. Signatories come from a wide mix of businesses -- from apparel, books and restaurants to farming, construction and venture capitalism -- and organizations such as Small Business Majority, New Voice of Business, Social Venture Network and the U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce.

Signer Kirsten Poole, co-owner of Kirsten's Cafe and Dish Caterers in Silver Spring, MD, says, "Trying to save money by shortchanging my employees would be like skimping on ingredients. I'd lose more than I saved because of declining quality, service, reputation and customer base. You can't build a healthy business or a healthy economy on a miserly minimum wage."

Contrary to what critics routinely predict, the business leaders' statement says, "States that have raised their minimum wages above the inadequate $5.15 federal level have had better employment and small business trends than the other states."

"We're overdue for a minimum wage increase," says Shalon Hastings, owner of Taco del Sol in Helena, MT. "It's a sign of respect for our employees and the work they do for us as business owners."

After a decade at $5.15 an hour, the statement says, "Minimum wage workers have less buying power than minimum wage workers had half a century ago. We cannot build a strong 21st century economy on a 1950s' wage floor."

"Congress should know the facts are very clear versus the misinformation that's been spread over the years," says Adnan Durrani, president of Condor Ventures in Stamford, CT and venture partner in Blue Chip Venture Capital. "It is a sound business decision to increase the minimum wage. It increases sales. It increases employment. I have found that without exception in the successful ventures we've backed, providing sustainable living wages yielded direct increases in productivity, job satisfaction and brand loyalty from customers, all contributing to higher returns for investors and employers."

The Business Owners and Executives for a Higher Minimum Wage statement appears below, along with signatories to date. Sign-On is continuing at

Business Owners and Executives for a Higher Minimum Wage is a project of Business for Shared Prosperity in partnership with the Let Justice Roll campaign to raise the minimum wage. Business for Shared Prosperity is a new network, in formation, of forward-thinking business owners, executives and investors committed to building enduring economic progress on a strong foundation of opportunity, equity and innovation.

TO ARRANGE INTERVIEWS WITH BUSINESSPEOPLE around the country, contact: Peter Bermudes at or by phone at 781-704-4039.