North Texas business owners, economists weigh in on proposed min - Dallas News |

North Texas business owners, economists weigh in on proposed min. wage increase

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President Obama was on the road Wednesday, pushing his ‘Give America a raise' initiative.

He wants companies to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour without waiting on Congress, and some North Texas business owners and economists are examining the impacts of the proposed increase.  

Norma's Cafe has been serving up homemade meals for nearly 50 years, and cooks there make minimum wage.

Owner Ed Murph plans to follow the president's prompting and pay his kitchen staff $10.10 an hour.

"The wage goes up on the bottom end, but it raises everybody else on the on the top end," said Murph.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Texas has more full-time minimum wage workers than any other state.

An hourly wage of $7.25 works out to around $15,000 a year, and pay at $10.10 an hour rises to about $21,000.

"Certainly if we raise the minimum wage, some people will lose their jobs because, frankly, they're not gonna get paid that much," said SMU economist Mike Davis. "Their employer can't afford it."

Davis says raising minimum wage won't be helpful in at least one area.

"Raising the minimum wage doesn't do much to help poor people," he said. "Only about 12 percent of the people who receive the minimum wage live in households that are actually below the poverty level."

Last year, fast food workers in Dallas and other cities held protests, demanding more than the minimum they've been making.

"There are a lot of entry level jobs in retail, hospitality, even in health care, that are closer to the minimum wage," said Fred Dedrick.

Dedrick is Executive Director of the National Fund for Workforce Solutions.

"…and an increase to $10 an hour would go a long way towards making these jobs more attractive, helping these people, you know, make a better living, help these people to be able to get closer to that middle class lifestyle."

At Delicious Cakes in Addison, the hourly salary has been sweet for a long time.

"Well, we start all of our employees at minimum of $10 an hour," said Ruthie Stivers.

Stivers says that's been the icing on the cake

"We get better quality employees," she said. "They're more loyal. Some of our employees have been here for a very long time."

And that makes for a good employer-employee recipe.

There are two sides to the pay hike coin: opponents point to studies that show raising minimum wage would slow economic growth, while proponents point to other studies that say most Americans are in favor of some increase to the minimum wage.

The differing opinions will surely divide the discussion if and when Congress takes up the issue.

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