Federal minimum wage debate comes to Indianapolis

The President is pushing for an increase in the minimum wage and on Wednesday, a member of his cabinet asked Indianapolis residents for help selling it to Congress.

Acting Secretary of Labor Seth Harris held a roundtable discussion at the John H. Boner Community Center in Indianapolis, to provide details about the President’s plan and to listen to stories from employees that he could take back to Washington.

“Really, what I want to do more than anything else is hear from you,” Harris said to the crowd, which consisted of several residents who make less than $9 an hour.

Casey Foley’s said he’s been struggling to make more than minimum wage ever since health complications forced him to close his own business several years ago. He said he lost everything and, despite working full-time once again, still can’t keep up.

“It’s hard work being poor because where do I go to get that extra income?” Foley said. “There’s only so many hours in a day.”

At the current minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, a full-time employee will make $14,500 a year. The president wants to increase it to $9 an hour, which would raise annual income to $18,000 a year. Harris said the change would impact 15 million Americans.

“341,000 workers here in Indiana would benefit from the increase in the minimum wage,” Harris said.

“I’d be very happy to see it,” Foley said. “Not only for people like me but for people that are entering the workforce and need, not the minimum wage job, they need an opportunity job.”

But some business owners are worried it will cost them opportunities to add jobs. The owner of The Meat Shop in Indianapolis said he pays above the current minimum wage and supports a smaller increase, but if it goes to $9, he said his plans to open a new store will be in jeopardy.

“That’s going to slow expansion since it’s going to cost us a little more to pay our employees,” Miller said. “We’ll have to look at other ways or down the road farther.”

“It may be that this business man that you’ve been talking to is actually going to be able to expand because he’ll have more customers,” Harris said. “That’s what we’re going to find out over the course of time, but our experience has been that you don’t lose jobs. Instead, you help families, you help the economy to grow and you do the right thing.”

20 comments

  • Chris Branum

    i dont see it helping cause the cost of everything will just rise with it so therefore it will defeat the purpose but then again the cost of everthing is gonna rise with or without it

  • Misty

    I believe that it should be raised. The cost of everything is already raising, when gas prices rise like they have been, everything else is going to rise with it.

    • ClanSmokeJaguar

      People like you crack me up in that you're willing to pick another man's pocket who is risking his entire financial being…just so you can buy gas!

      You do realize business owners have a lot at stake and whenever they're forced to spend more on the government it gets passed onto the consumer in more than one way usually with higher costs and fewer jobs.

  • anonymous

    Yes it will help us that are low income family who needs the extra money. You just can’t live off of 7.25 an hour.

  • toni

    It should be raised. More people would get off welfare if working paid more. No one can survive gas, food, rent on 7.25 hour! Let congress get that kind of pay for a week!

  • John

    Well when employers are not giving raises and you only make just over minimum wage, then yes, it will help. Employers dont bother to think that the cost of living goes up, taxes all went up and yet wages did not. this happens year after year and then there are more on assistance, more crime, more people unable to pay bills thus causing everything to rise so that those who can pay end up paying higher prices to cover those who cannot.

  • Darrin

    If the answer to all of the poor problems is the Min. Wage , the raise to 49 dollars or why not 100 dollars. That will fix everyone's problems, expect when we have to pay 20 dollars for a gallon of milk. Everyone wants social programs as long as they do not have to pay for them. It is all the rich people's fault. They pay more in taxes and those who get all of the bennifits do not pay anything , how is this fair. jUST BLAME THE RiCH!

  • PullinDubs

    Its only a way for the government to raise taxes with out most people catching on. Since income tax is percentage based the more you make the more they get. Than the increase in cost of everything we use on a daily basics the only people to benefit from raise in minimum wage are the money hungry politicians pushing for the raise.

  • Mr. BR

    For all of you that think raising the minimum wage is the answer, you are wrong. What happens if it is raised? Inflation! You don't get something for nothing. What we need is a more responsible government and people as well as less entitlement for those that abuse those systems. If you don't like making $7.25 an hour get off your butt and do something about it yourself! Take responsibility for you.

  • RodgerRobot

    Don't forget the increase in revenue to all government from increased payroll taxes.
    Could someone advise where the bracket changes? years ago I got a raise yet made less take home $.

  • I dont make sense

    You know how you lower cost of life? Incentive the agricultural sector.
    More farms, more food producers, more milk and so on, that's how you lower cost of life.
    Incentive investigation on energy efficient technology and such.

    Yes raising the minimum wage is good but is not the answer.
    Also, there are a lot of companies that complain about this because they have to pay more but there are some genuinely business owners that cant afford this! We will see a lot of companies and small business letting go of people.

  • ClanSmokeJaguar

    It's been proven time and again when businesses are forced to spend more on payroll it results in fewer jobs.

    You don't like minimum wage? Get a job that doesn't pay minimum wage.

    Oh that's right…it'll require effort and sacrifice on your part so it's easier to pick the pocket of the guy next to you.

  • Hawthorne

    I have no idea how any businesses will survive…Obama Care and an increase in minimum wage? Come on Obama, lets start using your head!

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