A Local Business Owner Says A Hike Could Hurt

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For six years now, Melissa Nelson has enjoyed running her own business.

"Every sweat that you put into it, it's because it's yours and you get the pride and the enjoyment of basically owning your own and making something happen for yourself."

But she worries a minimum wage hike could cause financial problems.

"It's not that I don't wanna pay a high minimum wage, it's just that the point if I can't afford it."

Nelson knows 'La Nique' might not exist if it wasn't for minimum wage workers like Latrice Cozart.

"It's really hard to live off minimum wage because you still have to buy, you have to pay, so at $7.25 I think it will be way more comfortable," says Latrice Cozart.

Cozart wonders if the $2.10 increase will have an effect on the government help she recieves. Especially when her baby arrives in March.

"You won't be eligible for the milk and then that would make me have to provide my baby with milk and if she is on a certain milk, it'll be really high because milk can go up to like $20 a can."

But could the boost have a major impact on East Tennessee?

"My guess would be most people are making above seven dollars an hour today," says Matt Murray with the University of Tennessee. He says the impact on the area would be slim.

"It's likely to have a substantial effect for a small number of employers and a small number of workers in the community," says Murray.

But those small changes could be major for 'La Nique'.

"I may have to cut some of my employees and pay the ones that I can," says Nelson.

The Senate is expected to vote at the end of the week, or early next week on the minimum wage bill. They plan on adding billions in tax breaks to the measure.

You can click on the following link to contact your representative in Washington.