Alaska’s increase in minimum wage, which goes into effect on Jan. 1, is good for low income workers, but will also be hard on local small businesses dependent on those workers, according to the Kodiak Chamber of Commerce.
Executive Director Sarah Phillips said…
“Naturally a wage increase always impacts our small businesses within the Kodiak community because that increases expenses, and any increase in expenses can hurt bottom line for our local establishments, making it, a little bit harder to stay in business each year.”
Minimum wage will go up 30 cents per hour to $10.19 on January 1. The current rate is $9.89 per hour.
“Now naturally, we do support people getting fair wages for the work that they do. That’s part of a successful economy.”
Phillips says the increase will have a direct impact on the bottom line of many local businesses. And even the Chamber itself.
“Here at the chamber it’s going to impact us a little bit because of our litter patrol program. Each year we hire four high school students and a supervisor to go ahead and keep the streets and common areas of Kodiak clean.
“Like I said, just like with any small business, it’s impacting our bottom line. So we won’t be able to have probably quite as many hours for the students to work this year because we will be increasing those wages. And because we won’t have as much wages, we might not be able to keep Kodiak quite so clean.”
Phillips adds that the Chamber will likely seek out more sponsorships for the Litter Patrol Program.
Alaska voters in 2014 passed a ballot initiative which requires minimum wage to be adjusted for inflation.
State statute requires minimum wage to be adjusted using the Consumer Price Index for urban consumers in the Anchorage metropolitan area. It is based on the preceding year, so since the Anchorage index increased three percent in 2018, the minimum wage will rise 30 cents per hour, according to the Alaska Department of Labor.