Will raising the minimum wage help the economy?

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - President Barack Obama's call to raise the minimum wage to $9 dollars an hour during his State of the Union speech has renewed the age-old debate about whether boosting the wage helps or hurts the economy.

"What it's going to do is suppose you run Baton Rouge General for example," says LSU economist Loren Scott. "You have a whole stream of different people's salary at different salary levels that work for you. If you're forced to raise the lowest rate of the lowest group you ultimately are going to be forced to raise the rate of everybody's wage rate. That's just the way things work."

Parties Start Here owner Nelson Maddox agrees with Scott. "It will affect everybody's business. From a McDonalds to everybody because the cost of doing business and the cost of living is going to go up considerably."

Over at TJ Ribs, owner/manager Kevin Kimball partially agrees.  He says all of his workers are over the current $7.25 minimum wage. "Any time there are other options for the employees," says Kimball. "Whether its money-driven or not you just have to deal with it."

In all, 19 states and the District of Columbia have minimum wages set above the federal rate. Washington state is the highest at $9.19 per hour.

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