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Uniform Minimum Wage Idea Leaves Some City Leaders with Questions

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- The idea of an increased minimum wage sits well with some small business owners

“If it puts more money in other people’s pockets that could create more business for me,” laughs Andy Hartman, owner of the Mad Meatball Pizzeria and Pub in Des Moines.

Hartman says the war on minimum wage is getting blown out of proportion with businesses fearing increased employee pay will hurt business operations.

“It`s a minor increase compared to what all the other expenses are to run the business,” he says.

Hartman opened his restaurant about three years ago but it wasn't until last year he began paying his employees $15 an hour in  hopes of attracting quality help. It's worked ever since.

Governor Branstad announced Monday he’s considering a statewide uniform minimum wage rage. The announcement comes after months of debate on increasing the minimum wage above $7.25. If put into the place, it wouldn't affect Hartman but he's still in favor of it for other small businesses.

West Des Moines mayor, Steve Gaer, is an advocate for a uniform wage mainly because the city straddles four counties: Dallas, Polk, Madison and Warren. However, he questions who the wages will impact. Gaer says he talked to dozens of businesses who are already paying their employees well above the minimum wage.

“It would be interesting to an analysis of how many jobs in Polk County are at the minimum wage level and who they are,” he says.

The Mayor is now calling on lawmakers to take their consideration a step further.

“Wouldn`t it be better for everybody involved with the minimum wage to be tied to some recognizable formula based on the cost of living? That way there would be reasonable increases at certain points in time because of what’s going on in the economy.”

Governor Branstad plans to meet with lawmakers to see if there is bipartisan support to address the issues once the November election is over.