Tracy Talks: Minimum wage and small business owners
by Anne Marie Fuller
Sep 20, 2013 | 3071 views | 8 8 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
As I write this week’s column, my mind plays back the Alan Jackson song “Little Man.” Last week, the state Legislature passed Assembly Bill 10, which will increase California’s minimum wage from $8 an hour to $10 by 2016. As good as this sounds for the workers, I have to ask how this will affect our small businesses that struggle to survive daily — the little man.

“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

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October 13, 2013
It's not just the increase in pay..the federal and state government added taxes on the employer increases the cost to the business. We have got to vote in a better Senate and Governor to get the economy going better so we can afford to hire people again.
September 22, 2013
When I read the first sentence, I thought the little guy was the workers making minimum wage.

I guess not. You need to know how hard it is to make minimum wage at three jobs. My husband and i work really hard. We're the real little guy. Why don't you write about the people we know who are just trying to feed our kids on minimum wage? With no insurance.

It's not the governments fault. It is what it is. But we needed just a little help so I'm glad they raised it even though we're still poor.
October 13, 2013
When I entered the work force, I was making $8/hr. I hated working really hard for low pay. But what did I expect? I was opening boxes and putting the contents into another box. Low skill, low wage.

I grew tired ofnot making much money, so I went out, got some special training, and in 6 months, I started making $20/hr. Moral of the story, low skill, low pay, high skill, high pay.

Business are here to make money, they will pay you what your work is worth, not what feels the best.

If a business was struggling to stay afloat by paying someone $8/hr, this demand by the government to pay more doesn't help that business, and soonthey're either have to fire the person working for them, cut their hours, or close their store.

You should only be paid what your skill is worth. There shouldn't be a minimun wage. The market should determine what you should be paid, the higher the quality you want, the better the pay.

Minumim wage isn't support to support a family.
October 13, 2013
Raising the minimum wage will cause things to cost more and the minimum wage will end up buying the same amount of stuff in a couple years as it does today, but business will close and people will be fired.

Minimum wage > no wage.

Minimum wage laws are utopian and counter productive.
October 14, 2013
Man’s need for work isn’t strictly an economic imperative rooted in the codes and contingencies of our economic system. If a job exists, then its worth “ought to be” more than the monetary compensation a man receives from it; there ought to be a spiritual component to it. Still, I listen to people who seem to think, “What is shall always be.”

I get all the arguments about minimum wage, but perhaps our position either for or against it is misguided; perhaps our perspective (metaphysics) is misguided.

Tomgreen123 asserts: “You should only be paid what your skill is worth.”

I get the sentiment behind this proclamation, but, as it stands, it is meaningless. Our conversation about “economics” has to transcend this callow thinking.

September 22, 2013
I can see both sides to this story, it's hard to make a decision either way. I am sure you will find opposition from both sides. I am pleasantly surprised that you tackle real issues and bring substance to the paper. There are a lot of us that follow this column each week. Really enjoyed the roundabout one.
September 20, 2013
I see less and less of small businesses being able to make it today. Our downtown will turn into a ghost town.
October 13, 2013
This law passing is going to help speed up downtown turing into a ghost town.

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