Local businesses discuss impact of minimum wage raise

Local businesses discuss impact of minimum wage raise

The start of the New Year will bring the start of new, higher wages in Washington state.

Minimum wage in Washington goes from $9.47 an hour to $11 an hour, with more raises to come each year.
While that’s great news for thousands of workers, businesses are trying to figure out how to pay it.
This will affect a lot of people, and not just workers making minimum wage.

We’re already seeing some Spokane businesses making big changes, including laying off workers to make up the difference. Others will pass on the higher cost to you, the shoppers and diners, at local stores and restaurants.

Other business owners, though, plan to take the wage hike in stride.

Pizza Rita owner Brian Dickmann says he doesn’t believe it will affect his business since they’ve been open for 28 years.He says he won’t be cutting back on any employees.

In addition to the change in state law, the city of Spokane has implemented a big change as well, requiring companies to offer paid sick leave for employees. That impacts small businesses the most.

Dickmann knows his employees are happy about the raise, but he has to do a little something to make things work.

“It’s the way it is. Everybody is going to make a little more money and everything is going to cost a little more so it’s probably going to all even out,” says Dickmann.

Dickmann says they will raise topping prices by a quarter, and delivery charges by a dollar.

A lot of people here are looking to Western Washington to see how all this plays out. Seattle raised the minimum wage significantly in 2015. While some businesses have made it work, others have laid off a lot of employees or simply closed up shop altogether.