Del. business owners concerned over proposed $15 minimum wage increase

DOVER, Del. – As we near the end of Delaware’s legislative session, lawmakers have introduced another bill that seems to be stirring up quite the controversy.

“It’s another one of those causes where it’s just going to be making it more and more difficult to stay in business,” Dolle’s Thomas Ibach.

On Monday, Senator Darius Brown unveiled a new bill that if passed, would add Delaware to a growing list of states raising their minimum wage to $15 an hour.

“There’s some positions that I don’t think are worth $15 an hour,” said Louie’s Pizza owner Tim Gouvas.

Back in October of 2018, the general assembly had already passed a bill that increased the state’s minimum wage from $8.25 to $8.75 an hour. But it’s a wage that some lawmakers argue still isn’t livable.

“I actually agree with that. There are a lot of situations where the wage just doesn’t dictate a livable wage,” said Gouvas.

Some business owners in Rehoboth Beach who heavily rely on help in the summer say the increase would hurt them considerably.

“It takes a long time to get them trained. And by the time they’re trained they’ve got to leave. So I have to pay $15 an hour, the same amount I pay for someone who’s here year round? I don’t think that’s right,” said Ibach.

While others say they aren’t totally against the proposal.

“I’m kind of on the fence. There are certain positions that probably do dictate $15 an hour. And then there’s some situations where there’s where that’s probably way too much,” said Gouvas.

Business owners add that the proposed increase wouldn’t just effect them, it would effect their customers too.

“It’ll probably pass the buck onto the customer. I don’t want to do that. But if I’m forced to I probably will have to,” said Gouvas.

And while nothing is set in stone just yet, business owners say they hope the general assembly will take each and every concern into careful consideration. Before coming to a final decision. Legislators add that if the bill is passed, the minimum wage would increase in increments over the next couple of years starting in 2020. Until it hits $15 in 2024.

Categories: Delaware, Local News