Minimum wage talk hits Baton Rouge
BATON ROUGE - Some business owners in Baton Rouge say raising minimum wages to $10.10 per hour as President Obama suggests would cost consumers more money.
But workers like Khadija Lamraoui say minimum wage increases would make day-to-day life better.
"There's some people out here that get paid very little to do the maximum amount and just constantly stress themselves out for things like that and paying the bills," she said.
Lamraoui works at Ambrosia Bakery and makes a little over the federal minimum wage of $7.25. She says she wants to work toward owning her own home but can't afford to do so while raising two kids.
"Especially when you're trying to get ahead, get ahead of the bills and save for future things that you might want to do," she said.
Someone who works 40 hours a week and 52 weeks a year earning minimum wage would make $15,080 before taxes. The federal poverty line for a two-person family is $14,570 per year.
Baton Rouge business owners we spoke with said an increase in wages would hike up prices.
"It makes it harder for the consumer. The consumer is going to pay the difference. The business just can't absorb that kind of increase," said Ambrosia Bakery owner Felix Sherman.
"Businesses can't stay in business losing money, and if the costs go up they have to pass the costs on," said Benny's Car Wash owner Justin Alford. "So whether you're paying $4 for a car wash or maybe it would have to go to $5, the consumer will have to pay in the end and the same people you're giving this minimum wage increase to, they have to pay these costs."
Obama urged businesses to increase pay in his State of the Union address. The president also promised to raise minimum wage for new federal contract workers to $10.10 per hour.