Dell Smith works for minimum wage at The Burger Master in Eight Mile.
EIGHT MILE, Ala. -
As our governments struggle with limited funds, so too do many families in Alabama. Alabama is at the bottom of the list when it comes to personal income growth. The U.S Bureau of Economic Analysis says incomes in Alabama only grew 2 and a half percent last year. That's below the national average of 3 point 5 percent.
With the news of Airbus on the horizon, so are high hopes for our local economy. From state leaders, "We're ranked in the top five of all states in the country where companies want to come. and I believe we have the organizational structure in place right now that we're going to see some tremendous economic growth in this state," said Alabama Governor Robert Bentley.
To the everyday minimum wage worker, "I'm hoping that it will make things better. My son goes to Mary G. Montgomery, and he takes welding out there. So he's hoping to be able to get on with them later on with them, but it will be a couple of years before it will really impact our economy," said Dell Smith.
Smith is a waitress at the Burger Master Restaurant in Eight Mile.
With two teenagers and a husband on disability, she works 6 days a week to help put food on the table.
"His money takes care of the bills. Mine takes care of anything extra, like food and things like that so it's tight. Just gotta make it. Do whatcha gotta do. Things are hard," said Smith.
For 48 years, the restaurant has served up home cooked meals, desserts and their ever so popular burgers, that come at a hefty price.
"You've got to be 3 or 4 different licenses, three different permits, you have to have 3 different insurances," said the owner, Larry Brooks.
A little further up Highway 45, the economy is hitting another family owned business hard.
"Prices change daily and it's really high. Lettuce is 99 cents a head. Today it's a 1.99 and we are barely breaking even."
The fruit stand caters to the lower income customer, marking down its already marked down groceries.
"We call them dollar bags and what we bag up a special kinda bag we reduce stuff and put in. See like that lady is at it right now. Everybody is not as fortunate as some," said Kay Daw.
Business owners say if the state were to raise minimum wage, the cost would be passed down to the customer and could put them out of business.
Alabama's income per person was 35,625 dollars last year, ranking us 42nd in the country.