Arkansans Will Soon See Rise in Minimum Wage

APRIL 10, 2006 -- POSTED AT 10:30 P.M. CST

NORTHEAST ARKANSAS -- Arkansas makes a big change Monday...one that hasn't been seen in nine years. State legislators passed a minimum wage increase last week and Governor Huckabee signed it into law Monday.

The wage increase will rise this fall by an astounding $1.10, moving minimum wage from $5.15 to $6.25 an hour. This news comes as a long-awaited surprise to many.

"It will effect me really good because here lately I've been worrying about how I'm going to pay my bills making $5.75 an hour and I want a lot of money like car payment wise and cell phone, then gas going up like to almost $3 a gallon," says Zach Callahan, a Paragould fast food employee.

A local Quiznos' Manager said this is something that will help her keep employees on the job.

“If you start them out at minimum wage, you're going to have a very high turnover rate and by doing that you spend all your money on training the people. So, if you can get some people in here, pay them a decent wage, and then they're going to stick with it,” says Tian Sorg, Quiznos’ Subs Manager inParagould .

Some business owners refused to comment on the minimum wage increase but others say it's the best boost for our economy in years.

"It's going to put a new spirit in people I think. They're going to feel better about going to work and I believe they'll put more into it when they go to work," says Sorg.

Overall most seemed to be pleased with the decision, but are afraid this minimum wage increase will eventually raise the total cost of living in this area.

"I'm very happy, but I'm just afraid other things will go up and I'll just be in the same position I've been in," says Zach Callahan.

Arkansas employees can expect to see the new $6.25 wage by the first of October.