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Proposed minimum wage increase could be tough for some

By Jennifer Joas, Reporter, JJoas@wfmz.com
Published On: Dec 04 2013 09:30:02 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 05 2013 11:27:28 AM CST

President Obama is making another pitch to raise the federal minimum wage.

President Obama is making another pitch to raise the federal minimum wage, but some small business owners in Berks County are against the idea.

Employees at Intel's Pennside Drive-In in Lower Alsace Township were busy filling orders for customers Wednesday night.

But their boss, owner Gary Intelisano, stood aside, worrying if he will have to pay his 12 minimum wage employees almost $3 more an hour.

"It would actually put a really big hurt on my bottom line, and I do not even know really if I could survive with something like that," said Intelisano, who just took over the business in July.

If the president's proposal to raise the minimum wage goes through, Intelisano said he would not know where to cut from.

"I would probably have to raise food prices in order to compensate, which I really do not like to do, and I really do not want to cut quality," said Intelisano.

President Obama renewed his call Wednesday to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour. He said income inequality and wage stagnation are threatening upward mobility and retirement security, and he said making sure the U.S. economy works for every working American is the defining challenge of our time.

"This increasing inequality is most pronounced in our country, and it challenges the very essence of who we are as a people," said President Obama.

Still, if the minimum wage is increased, business owners such as David Spuhler, of Chapman's Deli in Shillington, said it is going to cost employers more than just the $2.85 increase per hour.

"Your workman's comp is based on a percentage of your total payroll, so that is going to go up more. All your tax contributions are based on a percentage, too. So that $2.25 is really going to cost a business owner more like $4.50 or $5," said Spuhler.

The president still needs to get those in Congress on board with his plan.