Senator Brown talks minimum wage boost at Boardman diner - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Senator Brown talks minimum wage boost at Boardman diner

BOARDMAN, Ohio - Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown chose a Boardman diner as his backdrop today while calling for the passage of a bill that would give minimum wage workers a raise.

Senator Brown says that Congress should raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, increasing the lowest hourly wage for the first time in six years.

"It's not just good for those workers, it's good for the economy as a whole, because more people will be spending more money at places like Yankee Kitchen," Brown said.

Brown is the cosponsor of the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013. The bill would raise the minimum wage in three steps of 95 cents over two years. The bill would also raise the minimum wage for tipped workers for the first time in 20 years to $7.07 an hour gradually.

Servers at Yankee Kitchen Restaurant earn more than the hourly minimum wage rate in Ohio, but many across the state are not working in their shoes.

About 1.3 million Ohioans earn the minimum wage of $7.85 an hour and 80 percent of them are adults.

But the leader of the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber says higher costs for businesses could slow down job growth, resulting in a negative chain reaction at a time when some businesses are still fragile from the recession.

"You'll see a company that might be a small business add four people, might go to three and so, you'll see that for a while until they can recover that cost," said Thomas Humphries, Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber President and CEO.

Humphries believes higher wages could eventually mean higher prices for consumers.

"We can say that 'well geez', they'll have more money in their pocket and spend, but people, when you go to restaurants, you see that price goin up like that, I'm not sure how many people will still be going to that restaurant," Humphries said.

The last time Congress approved an increase in the federal minimum wage was back in 2007, from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour.

Brown says about a dozen other senators have put their names behind the bill, which is still in committee.

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