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Awaiting the new minimum wage — and a bigger daycare bill

Small businesses outside Seattle are preparing for a higher minimum wage starting in January.

Voters approved an increase in the state minimum to $13.50 over four years.

Often, a rise in wages gets passed on to the customer.

In Spokane, the first customers to feel the pinch are families that need daycare providers.

Said Todd Mielke, head of the largest business development group in Spokane: “The typical cost for having a child in daycare in the Spokane market is anticipated to increase by $150 per month.”

That's because of the wage increases.

Just one daycare made that announcement but for those involved: ouch.

“I certainly heard a lot from employees who have two kids in daycare,” Mielke said.

Spokane sits on the border with Idaho, where the minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. That'll be about half the Washington State minimum wage.

“We hear frequently from businesses that say, ‘I can move 12 miles down the road and I can reduce my worker’s comp, I can reduce my unemployment insurance, I’m faced with a different minimum wage,’” Mielke said.

It’s not the same story everywhere. In Seattle suburb, Lynnwood, economic development officials say businesses haven’t made an issue of the higher minimum wage.

In rural Island County, the head of economic development says there’s no drama because so few jobs are involved there.