WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- If you are a minimum wage worker in D.C., you get a raise from the current $8.25 an hour to $9.50 by the summer of 2014, $10.50 by 2015 and $11.50 an hour by 2016.

The District has faced some resistance to minimum wage hikes - Wal-Mart threatened to not bring stores to D.C., business owners and organizations have concluded that it will stunt growth and cause some small businesses to close.

But, not everyone sees D.C. Council's decision as a bad deal.

"Minimum wage, full time, in the city - the District of Columbia, I don't think that... it's sustainable," said Asha Bennett, a minimum wage employee at a D.C. toy store who favors an increase in wages.

"People who are working minimum wage who still have to feed their family, pay their rent, go to school, those things will definitely help them," she said.

Louis Everard has owned Everard Clothing on Wisconsin Avenue for 16 years. He said the city's workforce deserves to share in the good fortune of their employers.

"I think D.C. has arrived. I think DC is on fire. Business is good and I think we do need to share. I absolutely think we need to share the wealth," Everard said.

But the Greater Washington Board of Trade argues that such a drastic wage hike is bad for D.C. businesses, who are now in line with Montgomery and Prince George's counties in Maryland. Meanwhile, Virginia remains at $7.25 an hour.

"$11.50 will put the District, Montgomery County and Prince George's County at a distinct competitive disadvantage," said Jim Dinegar, President of the Greater Washington Board of Trade.

Dinegar stressed that the board is not against an increase, just not one so high. They suggest a $10 an hour minimum wage.

"As you raise the minimum wage there will be a tendency for employers to substitute less qualified workers for more qualified workers. That tends to work out better for the more qualified worker," said Anthony Yazer, professor of economics at George Washington University.

The professor added that a better qualified, better educated and better paid workforce will translate to a better qualified, educated and paid city.

"If business can afford it, they'll get more productivity from those better qualified employees. But if you can't do that then yes your costs are going to go up and you'll be less competitive than Virginia," said Yazer.

Some district businesses agree, stressing that their cost increases will mean more expensive goods and services for customers - a move many said they did not want to have to resort to, but, after all, they're running a business.

One business owner who opened up an ice cream shop in NW about seven weeks ago said, while he'd like to pay his employees more, at this point he doesn't think he could afford it.

"We're not even at the point where we're making a profit yet. That would hurt us," he said, requesting to remain anonymous.

But Everard said that a wage increase goes beyond economics. He said if business owners take care of their employees, employees will then take care of the business.

"I believe that morale is the most important thing in the city. A healthy morale is a healthy city," said Everard.

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