Political leaders around the country are talking about raising the national minimum wage. Many politicians nationwide, including the President, say they are trying to strengthen the middle class by raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour by 2017, concerning small business owners. Bob Wall, the owner of Classy Chassis, says, "I think it would be devastating to a small business. What business can afford 30% plus increase and the cost of labor?" Mississippi has the highest poverty rate and the lowest median income in the country. Robyn Tennyson of Kelly Services sees people in need of employment every day. Tennyson says, "It’s hard to make ends meet on minimum wage, as we all know, but it will also affect the customers because product costs will obviously go up as well."
The current minimum wage is $7.25. The Congressional Budget Office says with the change, 500,000 jobs would be lost, but close to one million families would be raised out of poverty. Ja’nard Moore, an employee at Classy Chassis, says, "I say yeah we need a $10 minimum wage. I got kids to take care of, a family, you know.” Nicole Burlin, another employee at Classy Chassis, says, "Three more dollars would definitely help. I’d be able to pay my bills better and quicker." Burlin say that even though she supports the possible increase, she knows it comes with a price. She says, "If minimum gets raised, then we have to claim our tips on taxes and all that."
While people currently receiving minimum wage are in favor of the national minimum going up, experts say Mississippi could lose over 10,000 jobs over the next decade as the doors of local businesses are forced shut. Wall also says, "I don’t think we need the government to tell us how much we need to pay people. I think that will take care of itself, and there are a lot of industries like ours where the entry level, unskilled labor would not be worth $10 an hour." A Wall Street Journal poll says that 63% of Americans approve the increase, but it's too early to tell if the increase will actually happen.