Mar 6, 2013 at 12:52 pm
ST. PAUL, Minn. (KNSI) - Minnesota legislators are busy debating a move to raise the state's minimum wage of $6.15 to between $9.00 and $9.50 an hour, and one local restaurant owner says such a move could deliver a blow to his business.
Scott Widor owns the Blue Line Bar and Grill in Sartell, along with the Blue Line South in St. Cloud. Widor employs about 80 people total, half of whom are servers or bartenders earning minimum wage.
Widor says he definitely supports a higher minimum wage in principle - he says he believes it contributes to a stronger economy and allows people to spend more in the service industry.
However, Widor expects the addition of extra dollars onto the minimum wage, when combined with payroll tax and other business expenses, will place added stress onto the Blue Line and affect how much he'll be able to reinvest in his company.
"From my perspective, something's gotta give," Widor says. "When you have wages, and then the payroll tax, it adds up. People who aren't making tips here make over the proposed minimum wage already. I want to pay a good wage because that's how you keep good people. But from a restaurant perspective, it's going to be a tough one when you add that extra $2.00."
Widor says he's concerned he'll have to increase food prices in order to compensate for the wage hike.
While Minnesota's current minimum wage is set at $6.15, most workers at that level qualify for the federal minimum wage of $7.25.
The state's house and senate are currently divided on the amount of increase, with the house positing reaching $10.55 within three years.
The last increase in the state's minimum wage was in 2005.