January 2017 | Business View Magazine

2 3 T Editor-in-Chief Al Krulick Associate Editor Lorie Steiner Director of Advertising Lauren Blackwell Research Directors Erin O’Donoghue Berton Spivy III Paul Payne Rohan Stewart Brendan McElroy Creative Director Dana Long Vice President of Production Aimy McGrew Vice President of Publishing Andre Barefield CGO Alexander Wynne-Jones COO Brian Andersen Executive Publisher / CEO Marcus VandenBrink USA Canada Caribbean Oceania Email for all inquiries: info@businessviewmagazine.com www.BusinessViewMagazine.com From the Editor The federal minimum wage was introduced in 1938 under the Fair Labor Standards Act and was initially set at $0.25 per hour. It has been increased by Congress 22 times, most recently in 2009 when it went from $6.55 to $7.25 an hour. Today, 29 states plus the District of Colum- bia have a minimum wage higher than the federal minimum. 2,561,000 workers, or about 3.3 percent of the hourly paid working population, earn the federal minimum wage or below. But even though the federal minimum wage has stayed constant for the past several years, in 2017, nearly 12 million workers will get raises, as seven states and 18 cities and counties begin phasing in higher minimum wages approved by voters at the polls this past November, or passed into law by legislative bodies. The new state minimums – in Arizona, California, Colorado, Maine, New York, Oregon, and Washington - call for increas- es to $12 to $15 an hour. The new local minimums vary from $10.10 an hour in Wapello County, Iowa, to $15 an hour in Washington, D.C., and many California cities. And $15 an hour was approved last year for an estimated 53,000 public employees and government contrac- tors in 11 localities in New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and Wisconsin. For years, opponents of raising the minimum wage have maintained that doing so hurts the economy as a whole when employers are made to pay a certain amount of money for labor. When the minimum wage increases, they assert, employers are left with only two options in order to remain at a steady profit: they can reduce the number of people they employ, or they can increase the price of their goods. Reducing the workforce is no good because it increas- es unemployment rates and makes basic needs less attainable to those put out of work. The alternative isn’t much better, either. Higher prices discourage spend- ing and hurt the entire economy. And workers with the lowest wages are hurt the most, as they are least likely to be able to afford goods at higher costs. Fi- nally, if forced to pay a higher minimum wage, some businesses would simply be forced to close. Proponents of raising the minimum wage have pointed out that workers simply cannot make a decent living earning $7.25 an hour, and that a higher minimum wage would reduce pover- ty, while decreasing dependence on government welfare spending. According to a 2014 Congressional Budget Office report, increasing the minimum wage to $9 would lift 300,000 people out of pov- erty, and an increase to $10.10 would lift 900,000 people out of poverty. In addi- tion, a recent study from the Economic Policy Institute suggests that a federal increase to $10.10 would inject $22.1 billion of new spending into the econ- omy and create about 85,000 new jobs over a three-year, phase-in period. Other studies refute the claim that raising the minimum wage has had a negative effect on employment in areas where it has been instituted. Finally, proponents claim that increasing the minimum wage would increase worker productivi- ty and reduce employee turnover, which would actually save businesses money. As we ring in the New Year, it remains to be seen how businesses in the juris- dictions that have implemented a higher minimum wage will fare and whether or not their local economies will suffer or, conversely, prosper when those at the bot- tom of the wage scale begin earning more. Al Krulick Editor-in-Chief 12559 New Brittany Blvd Fort Myers, 33907 239.220.5554 Contact us