SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS (KSLA) - Workers in the state of Arkansas have begun reaping the benefits from last November’s vote the $8.50 per hour minimum wage.
The Arkansas minimum wage has increased 75 cents to $9.25 per hour. For a 40 hour work week that’s approximately an increase of $30.
This is good news for some but not all are excited with the change. Regina Smith is the manager of Tim’s Food Store in Lewisville, Arkansas. She said weeks ago they began preparing for the minimum wage increase in the state of Arkansas.
"We are having less people here each day when we had more to do — stocking and different job," Smith said.
There are approximately 20 employees here and Regina says at present the increase is not hurting them since most of their workers already makes more than minimum wage. However, she says in time customers will feel the effects.
“As the years go up and it gradually increases it probably will hurt our business where we will have to go up on some of our product to meet the rising cost,” Smith said.
This is what have some Arkansas residents concerned with the wage increase. Michael Lee is a self employed cattle farmer in Lafayette County Arkansas and is not a fan of the increase.
"It is going to make everything else go up and some people may not be able to get a raise," Lee said.
Ultimately the goal is to raise the minimum wage to $11 per hour by the year 2021.
"No it doesn't effect us but the community it does," said Samantha Kemp, Tim's Food Store's produce manager. "A lot of people here are in poverty it helps them they can afford more now."
Arkansas was among 20 states to raise the minimum wage beginning this year. The other states that are increasing its minimum wages are Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Montana, South Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan, Missouri, Florida, Ohio, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont and Maine.