Capitol Hill businesses take concerns over $15 minimum wage to mayor

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by ABBY GIBB / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on January 17, 2014 at 8:52 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 17 at 10:45 PM

A loss of jobs and businesses forced to closed - that's what some worry will happen if Seattle enforces a $15 minimum wage citywide.

Several Capitol Hill business owners signed a letter sent to Seattle Mayor Ed Murray voicing their concerns over the potential pay increase.

The group, made up of clothing stores owners, restaurants, and salons, are part of the Broadway Business Owners Association on Capitol Hill. In the letter, they ask the city to exempt small businesses from having to pay $15 an hour if the city does decide to raise the minimum wage.

"$15. Wow, that seems really high.  Is this going to help people shop or will it bring unemployment up?  I don't know if it's going to help me or it's going to hurt me but with this committee the mayor has, let's see, let's have them tell us," said Carl Medeiros, owner of Penoche clothing store.

The mayor's special committee studying the wage increase plans to make its recommendations by April.

Medeiros went to a recent meeting discussing the possible increase.  He thought he was just signing in, but instead he said he and other businesses were added to a letter voicing their concerns to the mayor.

One of those who wanted to sign the letter is Nikki Page, who runs Scream salon.

"It's my community and I'm worried about it.  I don't want to see my businesses where I eat and drink go under because they can't afford to pay their staff that wage," said Page, who also noted her prices would have to go up.

In response, the mayor said Friday he's confident the increase will benefit the local economy.

"I don't want to hurt small businesses but I also think we need to step back and study this issue. Let's look at the implications both for workers and for businesses."
 

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