WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama's proposal to raise the minimum wage is in sync with his push to grow the economy by bolstering the middle class but it puts him at odds with many small-business owners who see it as a burden.
Obama proposed in his State of the Union speech to increase the low end of the pay scale to $9 an hour by 2015 from $7.25 an hour, where the floor has been since 2009. The president would index the minimum to inflation so that it continues to rise in the future.
"Let's declare that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty," Obama said.
Supporters of the measure see it as a way to lift people out of poverty and help business by increasing the purchasing power of lower income workers.
But many in the business community say it would be a job killer.
"That's going to lead to more unemployment. It's another burden to put on businesses," said David Siegel, the owner of Westgate Resorts, the largest privately held time-share company in the world.