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 Clinton Promotes $1 Minimum Wage Hike(02-12-98)


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Lott Says No Minimum Wage Hike This Year

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, March 27) -- Senate Majority Trent Lott (R-Miss.) says there will be no minimum wage hike this year. At a news conference Thursday, Lott shot down a Democratic plan to increase the wage yearly until it reaches $6.65 an hour by the year 2000.

Lott says any increase in the minimum wage will cause the loss of entry-level jobs and that, in turn, hurts small businesses.

Lott was joined by a half dozen owners of small businesses. Each told a story of how the last minimum wage increase touched their businesses.

"If the next minimum wage goes into effect the bottom line will be, my door will be closed," said Harriet Cane, who owns a small restaurant and coffee shop in Marietta, Ga., called the "Sweet Life."

Cane said she has had to cut the number of workers from 16 to 10, and take on more of the workload herself, putting in 16-hour days.

Jose Cuvas, who owns four Mexican restaurants in Midland, Texas, said the last increase pushed his payroll costs up by $60,000 annually.

John Orszag, a White House economic policy advisor, told CNN Democrats want to hike the wage to $6.15, not $6.65. According to Orszag, the original proposal by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Rep. David Bonior (D-Mich.), which proposed an increase to $6.65 by the year 2000, was revised at the Democratic Unity Conference held last month.

The revision, a collaboration between the White House and Capitol Hill Democrats, only increases the minimum wage amount to $6.15. "A dollar increase by the turn of the century," Orszag said.

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Friday March 27, 1998

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