SEATTLE - The state's minimum wage goes up to $9.04 an hour on Sunday. It's good for workers, but restaurant owners aren't happy.

Washington has the highest minimum wage and is one of a handful of states where employees who get tips also get the minimum wage increase.

I think it s a dangerous time now to raise minimum wage over 4 percent for tipped employees in the state, said Travis Rosenthal, owner of Tango Restaurant.

Rosenthal says the coming minimum wage hike will come right out of his pocket. Between $6,000 and $8,000 next year.

As president of the Seattle Restaurant Alliance, Rosenthal points to several hurdles for owners in 2012.
Mandatory paid sick leave for workers is coming in September.

And the tolls are starting tomorrow, let s not forget about that, said Rosenthal. A new toll on 520 will probably stifle people from Bellevue from coming over. You've got increased parking meters now from 6 to 8 pm, which digs right into the heart of restaurant business.

He says Seattle restaurants will either raise menu prices or cut staff. Currently, because of high wages, Washington restaurants have three fewer workers than the national average.

According to the Washington Restaurant Association, a typical server with tips earns about $22 - and that's about to go up.

If it means more money for me, I m all for it, said Megan Fitzpatrick.

This year the Washington Restaurant Association will go back to the legislature once again, asking that tipped employees not get minimum wage increases in the future.

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