Obama's Minimum Wage Proposal Gets Mixed Reaction

Feb 14, 2013 7:50 PM

In the State of the Union address, President Obama called for the national minumum wage to be raised to $9.00 an hour.

We spoke with local workers and small business owners to get their reaction to the President's proposal.

"Let's declare that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty and raise the federal minimum wage to $9.00 an hour," said President Obama during the State of the Union address.

During the State of the Union address, President Obama proposed increasing the U.S. federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $9.00. The minimum wage in california is $8.00

Many people like 17-year-old Chico high senior Ryan Barnett support the plan.

"If you're getting a little more money there's never too much of a downside to that," said Barnett.

This summer Barnett plans on getting a minimum wage job. He thinks if that pay went up the extra money could go a long way.

"A kid like me, I'm starting to look into some college stuff, there's other things I've got to pay off too, I got car payments, gasoline, so the more money you have in the wallet is only going to help you so," said Barnett.

If someone works a minimum wage job 40-hours a week every week, they would make an extra 70-dollars a week with the proposed $1.75 increase. That adds up to $3,640 a year before taxes.

"If people can support themselves better and better their future, I only see upside to that," said Barnett.

However, some restaurant owners are concerned. Chris Yarbrough owns Kona's Sandwiches in Chico. He has 11 employees, five of which make minimum wage, if it were to increase, he'd have to raise prices.

"That big of change with minimum wage means I have to restructure everything I do as far money that goes out, every customer here will have to pay more," said Yarbrough.

Scott Schulman, one of the owners of Brooklyn Bridge Bagel Works, is in the same boat.

"We are on pretty tight margins, we would have to raise prices, there'd be no doubt about that," said Schulman.

But for Barnett, the debate is more than dollars and cents.

"People are working hard around the world, and you know sometimes they deserve a little more of a break," said Barnett.

President Obama says he wants the increase to happen in stages through 2015.


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