In a couple of months, Arkansas will have a higher minimum wage.
While the item saw an overwhelming amount of support from voters, many are wondering how this will affect the little man. It’s an issue small business owners and employees have mixed emotions about, and many are wondering how exactly this will look in the future.
The co-owner of two small businesses in Little Rock said she’s for the minimum wage increase.
“Arkansas workers deserve a fair wage and I voted for the minimum wage increase,” co-owner of The Root and Dos Rocas Beer and Tacos Corri Bristow-Sundell said.
The Root wait staff aren’t paid the typical lower hourly rate restaurants use. They are paid $8.50 an hour plus tips.
“Everybody’s base pay is at least minimum wage and then their tips go on top of that,” Bristow-Sundell said.
She said it’s because she wants to make sure her employee's needs are met.
“There’s plenty of data that say that there are people trying to raise families and take care of themselves and aren’t making enough money,” Bristow-Sundell said.
Just down the street, a coffee shop owner said he won’t be affected by the .75 cent an hour increase because his employees are paid more.
However, he is concerned about the small business community as a whole.
“I think in a bigger picture of things larger businesses have more financial capacity to absorb the wage increase,” Blue Sail Coffee owner Kyle Tabor said.
He said small businesses have less wiggle room.
“Most small businesses are getting by on a month to month basis with a very small savings. I mean, most small business owners aren’t millionaires certainly not billionaire,” Tabor said.
The minimum wage will be $9.25 in 2019, $10 in 2020 and $11 in 2021.
“Any increase to their labor expense is going to make a big impact on their bottom line because labor expense is one of the largest expenses on a profit sheet,” Tabor said.
University of Arkansas bipartisan research found this could have a small vitalizing effect on the economy. But, opponents worry this will mean a hike in prices.