Iowa Senate passes bill to raise minimum wage - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa Senate passes bill to raise minimum wage

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -  It has yet to move through the house, but a bill to raise the minimum wage to $8.75 passed the senate.

If eventually signed into law, it would be the first wage increase in seven years. 

That'd be good news for many Iowans, but some employers might see it differently -- especially small business owners with tight budgets.

Art Store and More in downtown Cedar Falls has been in business 28 years, and is an example of one of those businesses. 

The store began with ladders.

"I woke up one morning from a dream that was very vivid, and it involved a library, and the most interesting thing was that there were these library ladders," says owner Mare Schmidt.

Schmidt says she went down main street in Cedar Falls later that day and noticed a space for rent.

Inside, was exactly what she was looking for -- including two tall sliding ladders.

"We signed a contract the next day," she says.

The shop is quaint, quiet, and peaceful. Currently, she has three employees.

Schmidt says shes very frugal with her business decisions because she has to be, and if the minimum wage was raised, that would strain her business.

"We have to be practical right now. These are lean times, and lean means its harder to pay someone more money. $8.75 an hour really adds up in a week, let alone a month. And it's a hardship on a lot of small businesses such as my own," says Schmidt.

That doesn't mean she doesn't want to pay her employees more, "as an owner I would want them to have more money too."

It just isn't always that easy.

"It is what it is. You do what you have to do not only to make your business survive, but thrive."

Waterloo Senator Bill Dotzler backed the bill and says surrounding primarily conservative states have higher minimum wages than Iowa, so there's no reason Iowa shouldn't follow suit.

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