Local impacts of possible minimum wage increase

This week, state lawmakers met to discuss HB (House Bill) 345 which would increase minimum wage to $15 an hour over the next 18 months.

The increase would begin July 1st of this year where minimum wage would jump from $8.50 to $12 an hour. On July 1st of 2020 the increase would take another jump to $15 an hour.

A question.

If it if passes, who would feel the impact the most? Corporations, small businesses, who?

KULR-8 spoke to Scott Harris, Associate Professor of economics at Montana State University Billings who provided a little insight on the possible impact of raising the minimum wage.

"What will also happen is something that we wont see as easily and that is that businesses will start to substitute from low paid workers to other means of providing their business," said Scott.

He also says technology will be picking up the slack and that we are already seeing it at airports.

"You check in with machines and it will become relatively more cost effective for companies to go that route," said Scott.

Local businesses may also at risk if the minimum wage makes this jump.

"But if you have small businesses that are really reliant on customer service with people and if those folks find that they are going to have to pay a substantially higher wage, then there's going to be some negative fallout," said Scott.

Montana's last minimum wage increase was by 20 cents just last month.

KULR-8 Reporter / Weekend Anchor

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