Feb. 22, 2007 -- Most small-business owners will not be affected by an increase in the federal minimum wage, according to a national survey released this week by SurePayroll, a Chicago-based small-business payroll firm.

Of more than 300 employers polled, 91 percent said they already pay employees above the current federal minimum wage of $5.15 an hour, while 79.5 percent said an increase would have no impact on their business, the survey found.

Still, nearly 59 percent said they expected an increase to have a negative effect on the overall small-business economy, with up to 10 percent saying businesses will be forced to close down as a result, the survey found.

"In my conversations with small-business owners, even if they are subject to minimum-wage laws, they are not too worried about the increase," SurePayroll president Michael Alter said in a statement. "In fact, the majority of small businesses support an increase."

In recent weeks, both the House and Senate have approved separate bills that would raise the federal minimum wage to $7.25 over two years. A compromise bill, which includes tax breaks for smaller employers, as advocated by the Senate, is currently under consideration.

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