Proposed $15 Minimum Wage Worries Some, Excites Others

Included in President-Elect Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus plan is raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Some say it’s necessary so employees can earn enough to live on. Assistant Manager at Gold Mine Resale in Petoskey, Amie Crawford has been advocating for a $15 minimum wage for about nine years. “Minimum wage and low wage workers are really what keeps this country going on a daily basis,” she said. “They deserve a livable wage.”  Crawford added she knows some smaller businesses will feel some pain in the beginning, but it would be worth it. “I think it’s going to be short term and in the long run,” she said. “More money people have in their pockets, you know, they’re going to come into their stores and spend it.”

Melissa Nixon has lived in Petoskey her whole life and said she’s concerned for several businesses in the downtown area. “I have to question if it’s the best time. I look down Mitchell in Petoskey and I see a number of closed businesses,” she said. “It’s really a struggle to keep small business stores open as it is right now. She also said the hike would affect the area as a whole. “You know you raise minimum wage and it raises the prices at storefronts at resorts. It raises our housing which we already have a lack of in our area for our seasonal needs.”

Owner Cutler’s, Jutta Cutler said they would need to take a look at their staffing situation if the minimum wage was raised. “I think it will be difficult, to some extent, when we hire quite a few college and high school kids in the summer time and to justify $15 an hour for that is going to be difficult.”

The federal minimum wage currently sits at $7.25.