Small Businesses Fear They Will Struggle If Min. Wage Increases - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Small Businesses Fear They Will Struggle If Minimum Wage Increases

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LANSING, MI (WLNS) - A recent study on what a worker needs to make ends meet in Michigan figured in costs of the basics, housing, food and transportation.

The results of the study reveal that the minimum wage is not enough for a single person or for people with children.

6 News spoke to local business owners who say raising the minimum wage wouldn't make things any easier.

Lia Olowniuk not only loves her job at the student book store, but also needs it.

"I pay for most of my living expenses. My parents don't help me," said Olowniuk.

The Student Book Store is right near MSU and has always hired students since it opened more than 50 years ago.

"Part of what keeps me young is working with college students, that's what we are."

But the Assistant Manager says they might not be able to hire as many if the minimum wage is raised almost $3.

"Somebody thinks there's some magical profit pool out there that's unlimited, it's not," said Mike Wylie, Student Book Store Assistant Manager.

One solution is to raise store prices. But with online competition, that's just not an option for some items.

"A business might raise their prices 3 or 4 percent, but that's not going to counter a 35 percent increase in payroll."

So they'll have to make cutbacks somewhere else, but they're not sure where.

An analyst at the League for Public Policy in a recent cost of living study thinks it'll actually help businesses in the area.

"When you put money into the pockets of low income, low wage workers, they tend to spend it more locally," said Peter Ruark, Senior Police Analyst, Michigan League for Public Policy.

Ruark stresses that a higher minimum wage is essential for covering the bare minimum costs in Michigan for everyone.

"College students need to support themselves just like anyone else."

Wylie just hopes he can continue hiring as many college students as he does now.

People who support raising the minimum wage hope to get the vote in the upcoming elections.

If it passes businesses will have to pay their employees $10.10 by 2016.

By Sari Soffer, 6 News Intern

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