New Poll Shows Small Business Owners Divided on Minimum Wage Increase

President Barack Obama brought up the minimum wage in the U.S., and the ways in which the current level might affect both workers and businesses of all sizes, during his State of the Union address. Obama wants to raise that level to $10.10 per hour, from the current $7.25, but a recent poll suggests that many small business owners wouldn't be on board with such a move.

Today, close to half of small business owners say that they do not support such a proposal, but another 44 percent said they did, according to a new poll from CNNMoney-Manta. The last 7 percent did not know how they felt about such a move. What's interesting, though, is about 20 percent of those in favor of raising the minimum wage say they pay at least some of their workers less than that $10.10 amount, and just 7 percent say they pay their states' minimum wage. Meanwhile, 95 percent agree that $7.25 is not a living wage.

The most recent data from the Congressional Research Service suggests that only about 1.6 million Americans earn the current minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, but another 17 million make less than the proposed $10.10, the report said. Another 11 million might find themselves paid slightly more than $10.10 if that change is instituted, because a large number of small businesses across the country keep all of their employees on a sliding pay scale, meaning that if their lowest-paid workers get raises through the minimum wage increase, those who earn slightly more will also see a pay bump.

How will this affect workers?
Because such a large number of owners are opposed to the change, it stands to reason that many might have adverse reactions if such a change were instituted, the report said. For instance, 26 percent of those polled said that a $10.10 minimum wage would prompt them to cut employees' hours, while 32 percent said they'd simply raise their prices. On the other hand, nearly half said no change would come.

Owners worried about their bottom lines at this time might want to consider not only their revenues, but also their expenses, as a means of helping them get ahead. For example, assessing small business insurance costs, such as those for commercial insurance premiums, might prompt them to seek out more affordable coverage that can save them thousands of dollars annually.