HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) – Some Virginians will see more money in their pockets in the new year with minimum wage going up another dollar to $12 an hour.
While that will help some people, Clean Eatz franchise owner Dylan Richmond says the minimum wage increase feels like a dirty trick.
“I get why they want to do it, and they’re trying to help all of us, and its a struggle, and I have sympathy for everybody, but I’m the business owner and I’m even struggling with bills and stuff but people don’t see that,” Richmond told WAVY.
His struggle is echoed within The Retail Alliance, an association of small businesses in Hampton Roads.
‘When you combine that unfortunate perfect storm of ongoing supply chain issues, inflation impacting cost of goods and now the minimum wage increase it does develop a situation for a small business owner where their operational costs have risen substantially and its got to be passed on somewhere.” said Retail Alliance VP, Jenny Crittenden.
Crittenden told 10 On Your Side that most local businesses are already paying $12 an hour or more to be competitive in a tight labor market. Economists predict that the new minimum wage will create a ripple effect.
“What will happen is those making near minimum wage $13, $14, $15 dollars an hour will ask for an increase,” said Professor Robert McNab, Chair of the Old Dominion University Economics Department.
McNab said workers need the raise to make their rent, which increased more than 20 percent in Hampton roads this year, but he warns consumers can expect more shrinkflation to pay for it.
In Richmond’s case, where prices are fixed, perhaps you’ll find fewer people behind the counter serving customers.
“You know if it gets worse there’s no open sign on these doors,” Richmond said.
The minimum wage is scheduled to increase again in 2025 although the General Assembly still has to vote on it.
McNab cautions those lawmakers telling WAVY, “You have to ask yourself how many burdens can we place on small businesses before they really start toppling over.”