Minimum wage

Governor Chet Culver signed a bill increasing the minimum wage in Iowa to $6.20 per hour April 1, 2007 and then to $7.25 Jan. 1, 2008. The increase from $5.15 to $7.25 will undoubtedly influence both the employers and employees of local Ames businesses. Ames High students have expressed their feelings about the effects that the increase will have on both themselves and the businesses they work for. Some are happy about the raise, but many do not feel that the increase is the best for the future of their employers. Senior Allison Dye works at Cookies Etc., where she is currently paid $6 per hour. “I’m glad to get a raise, but I’m not sure where this will put our store,” Dye said. “Cookies etc. has low prices, so I’m expecting there will be a lot of changes within our store in the next year.” Many other local businesses are faced with similar problems. Some businesses are faced with the choice of raising prices or cutting employees. Senior Anne Wilson, who recently starting working for the new business Chocolaterie Stam, feels the pressures of the upcoming change in minimum wage. “My boss is nervous about the wage increase because being a new business makes it hard,” Wilson said, “However, I’m happy because this money will help me pay for college when I come back during holiday breaks.” Freshman Corey Baughman, who works at The Grove, currently makes $6.50 per hour. Although he won’t see the effects in his pocket until next January, Corey thinks the new bill could affect The Grove. “It could affect the prices and we might lose customers, but the decision has already been made.” While some are worried for the future of their employers, others feel that the raise isn’t fair to those who have worked hard to earn $7.50 per hour. “It’s unfair to the people who have worked hard to get raises,” senior Amber Sexton said. She currently makes $7.50 per hour at Hickory Park. “I would have liked for them to have passed the law sooner and in smaller increments so that there wouldn’t be such a big impact all at once,” Sexton said. Although the many effects the minimum wage bill will have on small businesses are evident, one can only wait until the first price raise to find out what the true consequences are.