FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Frank Knapp, Jr., 803-252-5733, Sbchamber@scsbc.org
Says Increase Is Needed to Boost Consumer Demand
Columbia, SC – Today the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce (SCSBCC), which represents more than 5,000 businesses in the state, announced its endorsement of legislation to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. The group stressed the need to increase consumer demand in South Carolina to provide a much needed boost to the state’s economy. Although many states have minimum wages that are higher than the federal rate, South Carolina has no state minimum wage so most workers are covered by the federal minimum, which has been at $7.25 since 2009.
“Our state badly needs a boost in consumer demand, which is how Main Street businesses grow.” said Frank Knapp, Jr., President and CEO of the SCSBCC. “Per capita income has fallen by nearly three percent in the last five years. That’s the wrong direction. Wall Street might be booming but that isn’t helping Main Street. Increasing the minimum wage will put more money in the hands of people who spend it right here in our state. That’s good for small business and good for South Carolina.”
The positive impact of a $10.10 federal minimum wage on South Carolina would be significant. About 300,000 employees in the state have hourly wages below $10.10., according to the non-partisan Economic Policy Institute. With an additional 150,000 employees expected to receive increases as a result of adjusted wage structures, the estimated total increase in wages for the state is $711 million. That translates to a $450 million increase in GDP for the state (net effect), providing a significant boost in consumer spending at South Carolina businesses
The SCSBCC statement read:
“The South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce believes that it is vital to our local, state and national economies to increase consumer demand on Main Street. Therefore we support the effort in Congress to increase the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour phased in over the next 2 ½ years. We also support an effort to pass legislation in the South Carolina General Assembly that would set a minimum wage of $10 per hour with state tax credits available for small businesses to increase their wage scale to this rate to comply with the law and possibly also for small businesses that already pay $10 per hour and voluntarily raise their wage scale within certain limits.”
Polls show increasing business support for a higher minimum, with 61% of small business owners nationally [PDF: http://bit.ly/MinWageBizPoll ] saying they are in favor of increasing it to $10.10 and adjusting for inflation.
The South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce (SCSBCC) [ https://scsbc.org ] is a statewide advocacy organization representing the general interests of small businesses. Founded in 2000 the SCSBCC has successfully worked on taxation, healthcare, regulation, worker training, energy/conservation, economic development and other issues of interest to small businesses in South Carolina. SCSBCC has also advocated for enacted legislation at the federal level for healthcare, financial and access to capital reforms. SCSBCC is also the state’s principle utility and workers compensation rate small business watchdog.