Dothan Reaction to Minimum Wage Increase

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A bill to increase the federal minimum wage is being debated on Capitol Hill.

According to some local business owners, the decision could mean more opportunity in Dothan.

The minimum wage bill has already passed in the House. Next, the Senate will debate.

With a higher minimum wage, what impacts would it have on smaller businesses and those living under the poverty line?

Mackroyce Corbitt, Jr. owns Computer Printing Etcetera in Dothan.

He does it all, t-shirt designs, business cards, even keeps up with his finances.

As the sole employee for his company he's looking to hire four employees and says a federal increase on minimum wage won't stop him. "In the short-term, it may affect it a little bit as far as the cost of paying the new employees. But in the long-term I think it will be a great asset to the community as far as the people being paid more (the ones getting hired),” he said.

There hasn't been a break in minimum wage for workers in a decade.

As of now, an employee can start making $5.15 an hour. That rate will increase by 70 cents two months after the bill becomes law. From there, it'll jump to $6.55, then finally to $7.25 an hour.

"It's not really good to pay people minimum wage unless you just have to because you're really taking advantage of the employees," Corbitt says.

However, Corbitt doesn't stand alone. Elite Styles Clothing Store Owner James Severson feels the same way.

He says under the current minimum wage, the poor stay that way, but if there's an increase, the local economy could feel a positive after effect. "I think it's a good thing,” he says. “I think it'll help a lot of poor people out."

On Capitol Hill a majority of the Republican Party feel a higher minimum wage could be stressful on business owners

The bill hasn't been approved yet. It still must go to the Senate.

President Bush and other's who aren't so sure about the minimum wage increase, say they'll support it, if there are better incentives for the business owner.

Currently, a minimum wage employee makes about $10,700. If there is an increase in two years they could bring in about $5000 more.