INDIANAPOLIS - President Obama called on Congress to raise the federal minimum wage for all workers in his State of the Union speech Tuesday night, and Indiana legislators are now making the same plea.
Supporters rallied at the Statehouse on Wednesday, saying raising the minimum wage will pull some families out of poverty and improve the economy.
"Workers, the people who drive the economy don't have enough to spend, they don't have any extra cash to go to a movie, to buy a pizza, those kinds of things. So if we can pay people a little bit more, we're going to loosen up the economy and get things rolling again," Jeff Harris with the Indiana ACL-CIO said.
Supporters think raising the minimum wage is long-overdue and will help Hoosier families struggling to
make ends meet.
Opponents worry a forced increase in the minimum wage will be a job-killer and force businesses to close.
"I just can't see how I can keep the business going with the amount of employees that I have and give the raise to each and every one of them," business owner Sandy Trent said.
Trent owns Helping Hand Chauffeur Service which offers transportation to and from hospitals for sick children and seniors.
She has 10 vans and 12 part-time employees. She worries a forced increase in the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10 an hour would force her 20-year-old business to fold.
"With the number of employees that I have, the change, that would make $2500 a week. That's $10,000 a month. And sometimes that is what I make bi-monthly. How am I going to… there is no way," Trent said. "It will kill my business, these people will lose a job, they're not going to have any place to go. It's just a domino effect."
Although no timeline has been set, Indiana's bill to raise the minimum wage statewide, SB 327, is currently awaiting a hearing.