“I would like to be able to open my store more days, but with the minimum wage going up, I won’t be able to do so,” explained Elizabeth Garcia, owner of My Best Friend’s Closet in downtown Tracy. “I understand minimum wage but would not be able to hire as much seasonal help or extra help for downtown events that take place throughout the year.”
“This new increase will be challenging for a lot of small businesses,” said Sharen Petrig, the co-owner of Vita Dolce in downtown Tracy. “It means as employers, we would have to absorb more of the hours. Also, we wouldn’t be able to hire more employees.”
Once signed by the governor, the wage increase is scheduled to take place in two increments — a $1 increase on July 1 and another $1 increase on Jan. 1, 2016. This is the first minimum wage increase in California in six years.
“I support raising the minimum wage,” Winifred Codde commented in an online Facebook poll. “There are many people out there that are highly skilled — and now are forced to work for minimum wage.”
Her opinion wasn’t universal, though.
“Raising minimum wage drives up the price of everything,” said Stephanie Simmont of Mountain House. “I have worked in the service industry for almost 20 years. If you can be replaced at your job, by someone with a week’s worth of training, you either accept your pay or acquire better skills.”
“This will drive up unemployment further,” said Mike Robinson of Tracy. “If you force the employer to pay a large wage, businesses will either raise the price of goods or go out of business.”
What are your thoughts? Can the little man survive in today’s world, or will the mom-and-pop stores be only a memory in the future?
• Anne Marie Fuller, a Tracy arts commissioner, is Mrs. California BOTN and National Mrs. Beauties of the Nation. She is also the television host of “Helpful Hints with Anne Marie” on Channel 26 at 7 p.m. Fridays. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.