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Mon July 21, 2008
Minimum Wage Hike Can Mean Higher Prices
By Peter O'Dowd and Elsa Partan
Laramie, Wyo. – Minimum-wage workers in Wyoming and across the country will get a pay raise on Thursday.
The federal minimum wage will go from $5.85 to $6.55 an hour.
Some small business owners say higher wages may force them to raise prices.
John Guerin owns a coffee shop in Laramie. He says the minimum wage increase and skyrocketing prices for fuel and flour have forced him starting today to raise his menu prices by 10 percent across the board. He says that has left customers fuming.
"At both our retail stores in Laramie, we heard about it. Nobody is happy about it. And we weren't happy about it either. But we just explained we have to do what we have to do to stay in business," Guerin said.
Guerin says he has to raise all his workers' wages now, not just for the beginners who are paid minimum wage.
That's because he has to maintain higher levels of pay for more experienced workers.
He says this week's wage increase of 12 percent gave him no other option but to raise prices.