Philadelphia business owners react to proposed $15 an hour minimum wage hike

Tuesday, February 16, 2021
Business owners react to proposed $15 an hour minimum wage hike
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President Biden has included a provision in the relief bill that would more than double the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Some local businesses are expressing concerns.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Business owners in the Philadelphia region have been giving a lot of thought to the possibility of minimum wage increasing to $15 an hour.

"Food costs are going to go up and customers are not going to be coming out to be buying food. It's a lot, $15 an hour," said Christopher Stamoulis, the manager at City Line Pizza in Philadelphia.

Presently, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, which has not changed since 2009. Under the Raise the Wage Act of 2021, if passed, the minimum wage would increase to $15 an hour by June 2025.

Supporters say it would raise millions of workers out of poverty and off government assistance programs. The bipartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates it would lift some workers out of poverty but leave others unemployed. It says it would also cause higher prices for goods and services.

SEE ALSO: $15 minimum wage would reduce poverty, increase debt: Congressional Budget Office report

"I don't think it's gonna be easy, it's going to be really hard for everybody," said business owner Vasil Veilaj.

Ken Curry operates six day care centers in Philadelphia. He too has been giving a lot of thought to how the wage hike would affect him.

"I can see businesses laying some people off because they can't afford that kind of payment without some kind of assistance from the federal government, or the state government to help them achieve those goals," said Curry.

Moon Krapugthong, the owner of Chabaa Thai and Yanako restaurants in Manayunk, says she can't even begin to imagine the impact it would have, especially those struggling in the age of COVID-19.

"That would be very challenging. I have to figure out how to survive on top of a lot of issues and things that I have to deal with," said Krapugthong.