Minimum wage goes up Friday to $7.25 an hour

Thursday, July 23, 2009 10:06 PM
Last updated Friday, July 24, 2009 12:11 AM
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Richardine Mathis will get a pay increase Friday.

Receptionist Richardine Mathis, who makes minimum wage, answers the phone at Augusta Urban Ministries Thursday.  RAINIER EHRHARDT/STAFF
Receptionist Richardine Mathis, who makes minimum wage, answers the phone at Augusta Urban Ministries Thursday.

The 67-year-old receptionist at Augusta Urban Ministries said the increase in the federal minimum wage from $6.55 to $7.25 per hour means an opportunity to be more independent.

“It will improve my standard of living. That’s what it means to me,” Ms. Mathis said.

Workers in 30 states, which don’t have a higher minimum, will receive an additional 70 cents an hour pay increase. It is the third time the minimum has gone up since 2007: from $5.15 to $5.85 in 2007 and then to $6.55 in 2008.

Ms. Mathis said that she returned to the work force to supplement her income. She receives Social Security and a retirement pension from University Hospital, where she worked for 20 years, but the extra income is helpful.

The increase in minimum wage could result in higher prices for consumers, according to the Employment Policies Institute. John Wulf, the marketing director for The Krystal Co., said the new wage will affect the bottom line, though few employees make the minimum wage.

“I know we’re not changing anything price-wise. We’re not changing the prices on the products to make up for that,” Mr. Wulf said. “We try to become more efficient.”

“You’d expect that somehow, if businesses are paying more for labor, that they have to transfer those costs to someone. That may have a slight impact on prices,” said Paulo Guimarães, an economics professor at the University of South Carolina.

“On the other hand,” he explained, “you also have people that will be making a little more income and that may not be so bad.”

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justus4 07/23/09 - 10:29 pm
"It will improve my standard

"It will improve my standard of living" might be considered an overstatement, but good luck with all that increased wealth.

FallingLeaves 07/23/09 - 10:42 pm
My experience when I was just

My experience when I was just a youngster making minimum wage, was that all it did when we got an increase was to throw us in a higher tax bracket AND we had a bigger chunk taken out of our paychecks for benefits because the "cost of benefits" allegedly went up along with the wage increase. I remember one time after a minimum wage increase actually bringing home substantially less out of my paycheck per week. I was very glad I hadn't been counting my chickens before they were hatched, but it still was discouraging.

brianw 07/23/09 - 11:07 pm
I am certain that whopping

I am certain that whopping $20 (after taxes) will change your standard of living! NOT! You really want to help the poor and middle class? Move to a FAIR TAX. One where everyone in the nation pays a flat rate regardless of income (lets say a flat 15%). Right now 35 - 40% of our paychecks go to the Federal, State and Local governments. Lower the corporate tax rate to 15% form the current 40%.

jasall18 07/24/09 - 12:16 am
Its simple economics, raise

Its simple economics, raise wages all you want, but all that does is make the company's raise the price of their goods. Companies will not eat a production cost increase, so you raise wages, they raise the price. Duh.

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