Minimum Wage Increase May Affect Small Businesses in West Texas

by Roma Vivas
NewsWest 9

WEST TEXAS- Along with a growing economy we have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation. So if local businesses want to compete in the job market they have to put up more cash to get the sought after employees.

"Well, it really hasn't had that much impact on us, because we have been paying starting employees at more that minimum wage for quite a while now," Russell Johnson, Manager for La Casa Verde Nursery, said.

La Casa Verde Nursery has been paying more than minimum wage to make sure they keep their employees. At any time, they have anywhere from 10 to 15 employees on the job.

"We do want to attract quality employees and we do realize our employees do have to make a living and they have families to feed and their expenses, whether it's gasoline or groceries have gone up, so we have to pay more than minimum wage and have for quite a while," Johnson said.

Trish Powell from the Better Business Bureau said the bigger businesses aren't feeling the increase in the minimum wage, but it's a different story for some of the small businesses.

"They're going to be impacted the most because that will significantly stretch their budgeting, but they may have already being having problems with it anyways because of the need to hire people at such higher rates," Trish Powell, Better Business Bureau, said.

But Powell also says the minimum wage increase was announced long time a go, so it gave businesses time to prepare for it.

"We knew the increases were coming so hopefully some of those companies were proactive, starting gearing up for it before it actually happened and knew that is was going to be impacting their budget," Powell said.

Some of the businesses we talked to are locally owned and don't have the budgets some big businesses have. But they say they prefer to sacrifice a little more of their profits to have a good staff, because it's better than not having a staff at all.