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      Minimum wage bill raises concerns for small businesses

      T he Michigan House of Representatives will look into raising the state's minimum wage, after a bill passed the Senate Thursday.

      T his pay raise would mean a lot for many families, but also would mean big changes and possible headaches for local businesses.

      R obert Keedy prides himself in offering competitive wages at his three restaurants in Petoskey.

      B ut over the last year , he has been anticipating a statewide change.

      "I t has been a long time since there has been a minimum wage increase, so i'm not surprised that it's moved forward ," Keedy, Wine Guys Restaurant Group Co-Owner said.

      The bill that just passed would increase the minimum wage from for regular workers from $7.40 to $9.20 by the year 2017.

      F or tipped employees it would bump from $2.65 to $3.50 an hour.

      "I think a lot of our businesses would be concerned with the increase in minimum wage ," Paul Beachnau, Gaylord Chamber of Commerce Executive Director said.

      H igher wages means extra costs being absorbed by these small businesses.

      "I t ' s very hard to make money when your that small and to continue to offer that employment, I just think our legislature needs to be very very careful," Beachnau said.

      T his would come at a time where small businesses are already adapting to recent boosts in property taxes and changes that come with the Affordable Care Act.

      "C ertainly those are important items , but at the end of the day it seems like the business owner has to bear those costs ," Beachnau explained.

      K eedy and many other owners in town say they are already offering wages higher than the current state minimum.

      H owever , if it were to go up , businesses may have to make sacrifices to stay competitive.

      H ow much would this change cost consumers?

      "I don't know, " Keedy explained. "W e'd have to look at it, we either have to make less money or raise the prices ."