Employers simply can't absorb a 41 percent increase in their costs without decreasing the number of jobs or benefits they provide workers. As a result, unskilled and low-skilled workers will suffer by being among the first to be let go and the last to be hired.

Any wage increase that is imposed on a small business poses difficulties for that business owner and his or her employees. My amendment, which would raise the minimum wage progressively over the next 18 months by $1.10, recognizes this reality and provides a necessary measure of relief for those employers.