After being frozen for a decade, the federal minimum wage jumps today from $5.15 to $5.85 an hour. It rises to $6.55 a year from today and to $7.25 when the hike is completed in 2009. The change affects only the 20 states that haven't already boosted their minimums, but opponents still worry it could hurt small businesses.
"They have to pay more and get nothing out of it," one foe of the increase says of small-business owners. But one Atlanta pizza shop owner tells USA Today the increase is no big deal and “probably within the realm of inflation.” The legislation is one of the few big successes scored by the newly Democratic-controlled Congress, the AP reports. (Read more minimum wage stories.)