Other states increase minimum wage, not likely in SC - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Other states increase minimum wage, not likely in SC

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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A national survey shows Americans support an increase in the minimum wage, and not just by a little. The survey by the Public Religion Research Institute finds more than two-thirds of Americans would like to see minimum wage raised to ten dollars an hour.

It seems to be a push that is spreading across the country, with two states just this week taking steps to increase the minimum wage. On Tuesday, Colorado voters decided to increase the state's minimum wage by 28 cents starting in 2012, and Missouri took another step toward putting a minimum wage initiative on next year's ballot.

18 other states already have minimum wages higher than the federal standard. In South Carolina there is no minimum wage law. So unless lawmakers decide to make a change the state will always follow the federal minimal standard.

"I know a lot of people who are working two jobs and even then they're still barely making it," commented Melissa Martin of Myrtle Beach.

That is why she believes an increase to the minimum wage is a good idea. She likes her job at Maryland Fried Chicken, and she is happy to have it, but she thinks it makes sense to raise wages along with the cost of living.

"Everything else seems to be going up except the minimum wage," Martin said. "If you pay your employees then they're more apt to work harder for you."

Martin said well-paid workers are less likely to leave a job too.

Those are benefits of higher wages Chip Bellamy agrees with. He does payroll services for lots of Grand Strand businesses.

"Minimum wage is only entry level for anybody," Bellamy said. "If you come to work for someone, if I do start you at minimum wage of 7.25 an hour and you perform, you're going to go to 8, 10, 12 dollars an hour based on performance. That's where I think we shouldn't start increasing minimum wage because people, they're paid for their worth most of the time."

Bellamy said most businesses work like that, so he does not support raising that entry level wage. He does understand a minimum wage can prevent businesses from taking advantage of workers, but he does not think it needs to be higher, especially now. He said raising the minimum wage could keep businesses from hiring new workers.

"I don't know if now with the economy the way it is that businesses can handle it right now, sustained because of it," Bellamy said. "That's the thing. We need to get some people back to work, then worry about that later."

South Carolina House Representative Nelson Hardwick said there has not been any recent discussion by lawmakers about raising the state's minimum wage. So it seems any change would have to come from a grass roots effort.

Copyright 2011 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

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