Minimum Wage Debate Divides Workers, Businesses Leading To Election

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UPDATED: Friday March 28, 2014 5:50 PM

The ongoing debate over the minimum wage is likely to continue through the November Election.

Supporters of increasing the minimum wage greeted the Give America a Raise bus with enthusiasm on Friday and a message to opponents.

“Get off your butt and do something,” said Sherry Girves.

She says lawmakers need to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour soon.

“I was a minimum wage worker and I know you can't make it on minimum wage.  I worked with other women that were on the edge all the time,” she said.

Democratic lawmaker Connie Pillich, a candidate for state treasurer, says her research shows that businesses can absorb the costs associated with an increase.

“When you pay people a little bit better wage - even a buck an hour more - it changes everything.  Most of that money especially at that level goes right back into the economy,” added Pillich.

But business groups do not agree.

“You raise the cost of labor and guess what happens? People don't hire. It's as simple as that,” said Roger Geiger, NFIB Ohio.

Geiger says raising the minimum wage is bad business.

“If you raise the price of anything, consumers buy less of it,” he said.

Financial experts say both sides of the debate are right - and wrong.

“900,000 people could be lifted out of poverty, but 500,000 people could lose their jobs,” said Jon Hilsenrath, Chief Economics Correspondent Wall Street Journal.

Hilsenrath says in an election year there may be little chance for a bipartisan compromise.

“Republicans are only going to emphasize the negatives, Democrats are only going to emphasize the positives but in truth there are tradeoffs and that's what the public has to understand,” said Hilsenrath.

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