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Feb 13, 2013 8:50 PM by Matt Stafford

Talk of $9 minimum wage brings excitement and fear

"Raise the federal minimum wage to nine dollars an hour," President Obama said in his State of the Union Address on Monday.

Afterwards, the President is taking his message on the road.

"It's time for an increase on the minimum wage," Obama told a crowd in Asheville, North Carolina on Tuesday.

Republicans are saying not so fast.

"Why would we want to make it harder for small employers to hire people?" Speaker of the House John Boehner asked a group of reporters.

In Colorado Springs, at local small business Yo Yogurt, you can imagine the typical responses from employee and employer.

"I was really excited because that's a lot of money," says employee Kristin Weiant.

"At first it was a shock," says co-owner Nic Grzecka.

Almost expected answers, but let's dig into each perspective.

"About half our employees are entry level at minimum wage, and then about another half of our employees are between eight and nine dollars an hour," says Grzecka. "Nine dollars an hour will force us to pay $9.50 and ten dollars an hour to get a better work ethic out of somebody."

Although Weiant knows the extra cash would help her while she's in college, she understands her boss's take.

"All I do is clean machines and run the register and like customer service, so I also don't really feel like that's worth nine dollars an hour," says Weiant; but not saying she's opposed to a raise.

On the other side, her boss can see across the table too.

"We're all worried about the sticker shock of nine dollars an hour, but really, as a society, are we paying the people what - minimally - they should be getting paid," asks Grzecka. He's not saying that paying for a wage increase like that would be easy, but with planning he thinks they can handle it.

Now it's up to Congress to see where the conversation goes from here.

Right now the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. 19 states and Washington D.C. are already higher than that, including Colorado at $7.78. The highest minimum wage in the country is Washington state at $9.19 per hour.

 

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