Del. $10 Minimum Wage Could Hurt Small Businesses - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Del. $10 Minimum Wage Could Hurt Small Businesses

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(Photo: MGN) (Photo: MGN)

MILTON, Del. -- Delaware lawmakers are working on a bill to raise the minimum wage to $10.25 by 2019, but for some small business owners a wage hike means an increase in the cost of daily operations.

The Milton Quick Stop store along the Milton-Ellendale highway in Sussex County is one of those businesses who could stand to lose more than a few dollars to a wage hike.

"If you start getting to the $10 mark then other people that might be making $11 or $12 an hour you need to push forward also," said Louis Eisele, owner of Milton Quick Stop.

In Eisele's business model, new hires start earning $7.75 an hour but within one month, they can see a $0.50 bump in their pay if they show initiative to do more work. But when the state raises wages this summer, Eisele said he'll have to make salary and price adjustments.

"It's hard to start people at sweeping floors or cleaning outside when minimum wage is $10. You have to use the people you already have," the store owner said.

For small businesses serving only one location, many owners believe raising the minimum wage hits their bottom line harder than big corporations.

But one manager of a local Five Guys, a national fast-food chain, thinks raising minimum wage is a good idea.

"Rent needs to be paid," said Jahmarr Deon Knox.

"I definitely agree with it. It should go up a little bit faster than it has been going up because people need to make a living," the food franchise manager said.

In addition to the increase, the bill would also require annual adjustments for inflation starting in 2019.

Senator Robert Marshall, D-Wilmington West, is leading the legislation after testimony from minimum wage workers was presented at the General Assembly's Low Wage, Service Worker Task Force hearings last year.

Under new legislation passed in 2014, the First State's minimum wage will increase from $7.75 to $8.25 per hour June 1.

Delaware is one of several states that have passed legislation to increase its minimum wage beginning in 2015. Maryland begins incremental increases in its minimum wage in July. Virginia has not increased its minimum wage of $7.25 an hour since 2009.

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