03-03-15: MacEwen warns minimum wage increase would hurt small business owners, force layoffs (audio)

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MacEwen warns minimum wage increase would hurt small business owners, force layoffs

Legislator: Rep. Drew MacEwen
Date Recorded: March 3, 2015
Run Time: 66 seconds

SUGGESTED LEAD: On Tuesday, Majority Democrats in the Washington State House of Representatives approved a minimum wage increase of 12-dollars-an-hour, while Republicans warned the proposal would hurt jobs. John Sattgast reports from Olympia.

(Voicer: MacEwen-MinimumWage-SattgastVoicer-030315.mp3 – Run time :66  seconds.)

Sattgast: Washington already has the highest minimum wage in the nation at $9.47 an hour. But Democrats in the state House say that’s not enough for adults to live on. They want to push it up to 12-dollars-an-hour over four years.

Republican State Representative Drew MacEwen of Union owns a restaurant in Shelton and a coffee shop in Bremerton. He says small business owners are already operating on thin profit margins and this proposal could push them over the edge.

(Voice cut: MacEwen-MinimumWage-CLIP-030315.mp3 – Run time :29  seconds – Out cue: . Which one of those do we do, Mr. Speaker?)

MacEwen: “We have three choices, Mr. Speaker. We can raise the prices 20 percent just to get back to breaking even. That’s going to have a negative impact on the customer base and we’re probably not going to make that work very well. Our biggest cost in there is labor. Who do we let go, Mr. Speaker? Who do I tell, ‘You know, I’m sorry. Yeah, the wage went up, but you’re gonna be at zero.’ Who do we say that to?  Third option is close the business and call it good. Sell the building and do something else. That’s not a good scenario either because now 20 people are out of a job. Which one of those do we do, Mr. Speaker?”

Sattgast: 35th District State Representative Drew MacEwen, who said a minimum wage hike could also price entry-level youth out of the opportunity to get a job.  The bill passed 51-46, with Republicans voting no.

John Sattgast, Olympia.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
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