EXCLUSIVE: Sen. Blackburn Holds Roundtable With Small Business Owners Who Explain How $15 Minimum Wage Would Destroy Them

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Henry Rodgers Chief National Correspondent
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Republican Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn held a virtual small business roundtable Wednesday to discuss a possible increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour, to which small business owners criticized the idea.

The Daily Caller first obtained a video of the roundtable, where five small business owners from Tennessee discussed how a $15 an hour minimum wage, which is being proposed by Democrats, would crush their businesses and ruin their livelihood. Blackburn agreed with the small business owners and said she would continue to fight against the proposed wage.

One of the small business owners in the video is named Danny Todd, he is the owner of Monterey Foods in Monterey, Tenn. During the round table, he said would have to raise prices and lay off employees, making it harder to compete with the large corporations.

“I own a small-town grocery store where we’ve got like 19 employees, probably 9 of those are part-time, high school kids and college kids, 10 full time. I’d have a hard time staying in business if minimum wage went to $15 an hour, I would have to cut several employees and try to do it by myself and with my family,” Todd said to Blackburn.


Jim Caldwell, the owner of Ladd’s in Memphis, Tennessee, which is a golf cart dealer, had similar remarks, saying he does not have any employees who work for under $10 an hour and that an increase to $15 an hour would cost the company $115,000 annually in added labor costs.

“[The minimum wage increase] could easily be in a year’s time $250,000 in added expenses…We’ve got to institute some kind of plan to recoup that – is that cutting people, cutting hours, increasing prices, somehow that’s got to be recouped,” Caldwell said.

The Daily Caller asked Blackburn about the roundtable after it was concluded to which she thanked the small business owners for their insight and said she would continue to push against a $15 an hour, federal minimum wage. (RELATED: Marsha Blackburn Talks About Democrats’ Obstruction And Punishing China)

“I appreciate each of you taking the time to weigh in with me. It is so helpful to hear from you all, you can be guaranteed that I am going to continue to fight this push to go to a $15 an hour, federal minimum wage, and fight these mandates,” Blackburn said.

“A $15 minimum wage would destroy small businesses and job opportunities in our workforce. Some politicians are trying to fit their radical agenda into the already massive spending bill,” she added. (RELATED: Is A $15 Minimum Wage Dead? Not Necessarily)

The Senate parliamentarian ruled in February that a $15 minimum wage provision could not be included in the COVID-19 relief package. Democrats will likely try to pass it as a separate bill.