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Readers React

A voice of small-business sanity on the L.A. City Council

To the editor: Thank you for publishing Los Angeles City Councilman Mitchell Englander's op-ed on the minimum wage. ("Why the $15 minimum wage got my 'no' vote," op-ed, June 15)

As a small-business owner I am concerned about the existence of my business and my ability to both employ people and support my family. I am certain that the increase in labor costs — the minimum wage will rise to $15 per hour by 2020 — compounded with the steep rise in ingredient costs will force my bakery to both increase prices and reduce working hours.

This is not about greed or increased profit for me — this is about being able to exist as a business. I suspect that without comprehensive reform in the way businesses are taxed in Los Angeles and frankly the country, the model of the small family business will simply become unsustainable.

I commend Englander for representing these concerns.

Dan Messinger, Los Angeles

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To the editor: I own a business and am for Los Angeles' new minimum wage. Englander, the lone City Council member to cast a “no” vote on the wage ordinance, is correct that some businesses will cut back workers' hours, eliminate jobs or relocate; however, wages are exploitative where they are at now.

In the long term, higher wages will benefit everyone in Los Angeles. People who earn more money spend more on goods, services and housing. Weak businesses that cannot make it under the new minimum wage law will be replaced by stronger businesses.

Expecting the public, private and nonprofit sectors to come together and put “skin in the game” to collaborate and solve this problem is unrealistic. It is time for a change, even if that change amounts to a minimum-wage experiment.

As a business owner, I have learned that if people pay more in wages, they also receive more in the form of worker loyalty, lower training costs due to less turnover and more productivity, as workers who are happier produce better results.

Bernard Hoffman, Los Angeles

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