What raising the minimum wage could mean for consumers

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- In Tuesday's State of the Union Address President Obama called for raising the federal minimum wage. He proposed increasing the minimum wage by $1.75 from $7.25 to $9 per hour. What could that increase mean for local business owners? Some say it's a step in the right direction while others say it will be you who will wind up paying the price at the register.

President Obama said Tuesday no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty.

"This single step would raise the incomes of millions of working families," he said. "It could mean the difference between groceries or the food bank; rent or eviction; scraping by or finally getting ahead. For businesses across the country, it would mean customers with more money in their pockets."

Business owner Shannon Hoffman of Green Acres Market -- a family owned organic grocery store in Kansas City, Mo., at Briarcliff Village -- employs 27 workers. She says she thinks it's a good and that progress is being made.

"Anything that's going to make things better for team members or anybody out in the workforce I think is good," she said. "It just has to be looked at in the big picture because we have to make sure the small businesses are still there to be able to provide the jobs."

But Hoffman says right now she can't bank that minimum wage workers would spend their extra cash here.

"It's all about accountability," she said. "It's what they do with that money, and so I think if they allow that opportunity to allow them to get ahead and they make smart decisions and make sure they're doing it in the right way and not just taking it and spending more, then I think, yes, as a whole it can definitely help everybody."

'Philly Time' sandwich shop owner John Matthews only employs nine. He says he stands to take a bigger hit.

"Ultimately, from my standpoint, it will either raise the prices the consumer is going to pay or they'll end up getting not as good of service because we'll run one less person at any given time," he said.

President Obama says a full-time worker making the current minimum wage earns just $14,500 a year. In Kansas the minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, in line with the federal minimum wage. The minimum wage in Missouri is ten cents higher at $7.35 an hour.


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