April 5, 2007 -- Small retailers say they will be forced to raise prices and reduce hiring if Congress approves legislation to boost the federal minimum wage, according to a new national survey.

In a survey of more than 1,000 small-business owners nationwide, 35 percent of retail and wholesale employers said the wage hike would adversely impact their business, according to Pittsburgh-based PNC Financial Services Group.

By contrast, 76 percent of all small businesses polled said the move would not affect their business, the survey said.

Among retailers, 34 percent said they would be forced to raise selling prices, while 29 percent said they would reduce hiring, the survey said.

Both the House and the Senate recently voted to increase the federal minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 over the next two years -- the first increase in a decade. The bills include tax breaks for small businesses and are currently being negotiated.

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