PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - President Obama called for the federal minimum wage to be increased to $9 per hour during his State of the Union Address Tuesday night. The President said no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty.
In California, the minimum wage is $8 per hour, exceeding the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. The President's proposal computes to an extra dollar an hour for minimum wage earners in the state, or an additional $160 a month for full-time employees.
The math hit home for people applying for work at the soon to reopen Skylark Hotel in Palm Springs.
"That's a huge, huge difference for somebody that's looking for a job and trying to raise a family, that's a car payment," said Jay Parks, who is hoping to be hired by the Skylark Hotel.
But not everyone is buying the president's idea, republican leaders say raising the minimum wage would actually hurt the workforce, and make it harder for small businesses to hire.
"I've been dealing with the minimum wage issue for the last 28 years that I've been in elected office, and when you raise the price of employment, guess what happens? You get less of it," said House Speaker John Boehner.
Bryan Gallyot, a co-owner of the Skylark Hotel, understands the Republicans point.
At the same time, despite the increased costs if the minimum wage is raised, Gallyot says he won't cut back on his staffing numbers.
"I like to keep an optimistic approach with this," Gallyot said. "We figure we bring the right people in, pay them right, make them happy, that will reflect how they will treat our business and our customers, our clientele."
An encouraging philosophy for the people who hope to be working at the Skylark when it opens this spring.