Minimum Wage Increase Hitting Home

Minimum Wage Increase Hitting Home
By: Crystal Britt

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. --For 26 days now Missouri workers have enjoyed a higher hourly wage. On January 1st a measure went into effect raising the state minimum wage from $5.15 to $6.50 an hour.  In those 26 days, we've all seen changes whether it's at the grocery store or the mall---prices are going up. Businesses are making changes, and it's effecting your wallet whether you realize it or not.
Donna Ficht lives on her own and her minimum wage job at Hamburger Express pays the bills.  Her job just got better. She's making $6.50 an hour, a dollar more than she made less than a month ago.  "When you look at that check, it's wonderful--it really is. There's a big difference", said Ficht. It's good for her, but tough on her employer. "I didn't have anyone making $6.50 at all. So, now everyone makes that", said Ronald Davis-Manager, Hamburger Express. Davis says he had to cut back on help. "We're running about one person less than we usually do at lunch time, so I've saved quite a bit." Customers however, won't save. Prices at Hamburger Express went up. They used to have a dollar menu, it's now a $1.49 menu. Some won't pay, but others? "If everyone else is going to do it, we're going to have to go on and do it too", said Annie Bell.
It's not just fast food restaurants. We're seeing an impact in a lot of areas of our lives. For example, many parents are paying a lot more for child care. At one center in Cape Girardeau-rates went up $7.00 a week. For parents like Vanissa Green, "You can't really pay for what they do. It's more than worth it. It wasn't that much", said Green. It's definitely worth it to people like Donna Ficht.  "It feels like finally, people are recognizing this may be a little job, but they're paying what we're worth because we work hard here."
On the federal level, legislation is underway to increase the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour, but Congress has yet to agree on a bill.