US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions

New Report: 57 Percent of Small Business Owners Support Harkin-Miller Proposal to Raise Minimum Wage to $10.10

82 Percent of Small Business Owners Already Pay Their Employees More Than Minimum Wage

Thursday, March 06, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and Rep. George Miller (D-CA), senior Democrat on the House Education and Workforce Committee, released the following statement today in response to a new report from the Small Business Majority showing that 57 percent of small business owners support the Harkin-Miller proposal to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 because it will boost consumer demand for small businesses, helping them to grow and hire more workers.

“It’s simple: when workers earn higher wages, they spend their extra dollars in their local stores and communities. As demonstrated by the Small Business Majority’s report today, small business owners  support an increase in the minimum wage because it means more business for their stores and restaurants,” Harkin and Miller said. “No one who works full time should have to raise their family in poverty. A raise in the minimum-wage is a pro-growth policy that is good for workers, good for businesses, and good for the economy.”

In addition to the finding that a majority of small business owners support an increase in the minimum wage, other key takeaways from the Small Business Majority report include:

  • The vast majority (82 percent) of small business owners pay all of their employees more than the current minimum wage of $7.25.
  • More than half (52 percent) say increasing the minimum wage would be good for small businesses because people would then have a higher percentage of their income to spend at local businesses and restaurants—which will allow small business owners to grow and hire new workers.
  • More than a third (35 percent) say raising the minimum wage would help make their business more competitive because competitors won’t be able to undercut them on labor costs.

The Harkin-Miller bill would raise the minimum wage in three steps to $10.10, then provide for automatic, annual increases linked to changes in the cost of living. It would also gradually raise the minimum wage for tipped workers, which currently stands at just $2.13 an hour. Several business associations, representing hundreds of thousands of businesses, have endorsed the Harkin-Miller bill, including the American Sustainable Business Council, Main Street Alliance, and U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce.

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