On New Year’s Day, thousands of Montanans will wake up to a pay raise as the state’s minimum wage is set to increase by fifteen cents. The new minimum wage will be $7.80 an hour.
Back in 2006, Montana voters said yes to an initiative to add a cost-of-living change to the state’s minimum wage pay. The state’s labor commissioner says from August, 2011 to August, 2012, the cost of living went up 1.7 percent.
To gauge people’s reactions to the new increase, NBC Montana caught up with several folks in the Flathead restaurant industry. One restaurant owner said increases will keep putting pressure on his business.
“When wages go up you pay more in taxes and that’s not always an easy check to write,” said Reeves Stanwood, owner of Piggyback BBQ in Whitefish.
One restaurant owner says an increase in minimum wage is a good thing, though she chooses to pay her employees more than minimum wage to begin with.
“It’s a great thing. Fifteen cents isn’t very much money,” said Wallis Bianchi, owner of Moose’s Saloon in Kalispell. “It’s hard to make a living on that. Everybody deserves to be able to get by well.”
Nine other states are raising minimum wage in the new year.