JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The minimum-wage debate has local small-business owners paying close attention.
In his state of the union address, President Barack Obama said he will sign an executive order that would require companies to pay employees under new federal contracts, $10.10 an hour and encouraged state lawmakers to do the same.
Wednesday he visited a Costco in Maryland and commended the company for voluntarily raised its wages.
Juan Mendez, who owns Si Señor Restaurant on the Southside, said bigger corporations can afford to raise wages but for him, it's not feasible.
"It would increase the prices in our product and in the end the customers are going to be the ones that will be paying for that," said Mendez.
University of North Florida economics and geography chair Chris Johnson said it's hard to determine what kind of effects raising wages would have.
"Some studies have shown that there are indeed no unemployment affects," said Johnson. "And there are studies that have shown that it may have a significant affect in increasing unemployment."
For Mendez, one this thing is certain: Raising wages could potentially mean having to close his doors.
"For the small guys, it really hurts us," said Mendez.
Currently, Florida's minimum wage is $7.93. The federal minimum wage is $7.25.
Johnson said raising the minimum wage won't fix the poverty problem. He proposes a hard look at the earned income tax credit to help families in need.