Proposed minimum wage increase debated locally

POSTED: 6:01 PM Feb 13 2013   UPDATED: 4:27 PM Feb 14 2013

During Tuesday's State of the Union address, President Obama called for Congress raise in the minimum wage. The president argues the current rate does not keep a family above the poverty line.

A minimum wage worker earns $14,500 a year, according to the White House. President Obama says that's not enough.

"Even with the tax relief we've put in place, a family with two kids that earns the minimum wage still lives below the poverty line," President Obama said during the State of the Union address.

The President laid out a plan to increase the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $9.00 by the end of 2015. White House estimates say it would give a pay raise to 15 million low-income workers. "Let's declare that in the wealthiest nation on earth, no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty, and raise the federal minimum wage to $9.00 an hour,” Obama said during the speech.

But that $1.75 pay hike does not come cheap for places like Bristol's YMCA, which relies heavily on part-time minimum wage workers. "The majority of our employees make minimum wage, up to $10 or $11 an hour. All of those folks are going to have to see a bump," said CEO Chris Ayers.

Ayers crunched the numbers and says in the end, the President's proposed pay raise will cost his organization close to $100,000 a year. He says they will have no choice but to pass the expense along. "It will be a $4 to $5 increase [in membership],” says Ayers. “It does not sound like a lot, but adult membership is $50 dollars a month. That's a 10 percent increase in fees."

Ayers says fees could go up more if the organization sees expenses increase from their suppliers.

Experts say the minimum wage increase faces a tough political fight from Republicans.