By Eric Groves

Minimum wage is increasing in 23 states this year. Alignable polled small business owners to see how they felt about the changes. Out of 655 respondents, 51 percent said they were not worried about the rising minimum wage. Meanwhile, 45 percent said they were concerned about the increases, and the remaining 4 percent were unsure. See full results here.

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Of those who supported the rising wages, many agreed that increased wages were good for everyone. As Shirley Hunsberger from Magnolia House Custom Picture Framing put it, “More money in the consumer’s pocket is more in mine.”

On the other side of the debate, many business owners argued that higher minimum wages led to rising production and operation costs. Realtor Marty Patrizi commented, “When the minimum wage goes up, so will costs to all of us… the minimum wage earner is no better off. If wages go up 10 percent and costs go up too, then the minimum wage earner is going to see his purchase power further eroded.”

Increase minimum wage only for those over 18?

One argument that stood out on both sides of the debate was that minimum wage should not be raised for workers under 18. As Moe’s Place II owner Jeffrey Wortham wrote, “I’m for it, but not for children under 18. I think an exception should be made due to the fact they aren’t trying to support a household like adults do.”

Jim Buck of Umigo Indoor Kart Racing also offered, “I employ a number of older teenagers who really do not need a living wage because they live at home. We will have to raise prices to meet this significant increase in wages, payroll tax and most importantly workers comp insurance.”

It’s an interesting argument to consider– wages based on age rather than skill or tenure.

In response to this argument, Andrew Weiner from Spaightwood Galleries, Inc. countered that “people under 18 trying to save money for going off to college certainly need to raise money, given how much college costs these days. People under 18 who need to buy tools for a job or a car for transportation are helping the economy as well.”

Charles Hickey from Short Pump Animal Hospital added, “age really has little to do with it. The real issue is skill and work ethic. If a new hire has the skill, education and desire to produce, they should be paid a competitive wage.”

What do you think? Would you support a separate wage tier for people under 18?

Eric Groves is the co-founder and CEO of Alignable, the free online network where local businesses and organizations connect and collaborate with others nearby. Eric has been a local marketing expert and enthusiast since 2001, authored The Constant Contact Guide to Email Marketing, and believes that local businesses are always stronger together. Follow them at @Alignable.