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Minimum wage going up

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Millions of Americans have gotten a raise. Minimum wage went up Thursday.

That's good news in South Carolina particularly since almost 50,000 people made minimum wage or less in 2007.

"I just feel better," says Soreida Torres. "It takes a lot off your chest with minimum wage going up."

She works part-time at Zaxby's on Knox Abbott Drive in Cayce. She makes $5.85 an hour.

"Now that minimum wage is going up, I can have more money to take care of him," she says of her 10-month-old son. She also plans to attend college soon.

Torres lives at home with her mother, father and five siblings, and she says every penny counts.

"I've saved up a lot of money. I don't spend money unless I need to," she explained.

Torres is one of about two million Americans who got a raise Thursday.

The federal minimum wage went up 70 cents, from $5.85 to $6.55 an hour.

While that increase is exciting news for Torres, her 43-year-old colleague isn't phased by it.

"You aren't making a whole lot more than what you were because taxes are going to take it anyway. There isn't going to be a difference really," says James Johnson.

Johnson has two grown daughters. He's been working at Zaxby's for about a year. He's there because he lost a job making $8.00 an hour.

With the minimum wage hike, he still makes about a $1.50 less, but he does appreciate being inside.

"I got tired of the hot sun. I got tired of construction. It was so hot out there, so I came to the inside job for a while."

Johnson says he'd like to make more money at another job, but he doesn't have a way to get there.

"It's a transportation problem right now. Without transportation you can't do but so much."

Both Johnson and Torres agree on one thing.

"Any money will help right now. For everybody not only me and other who make minimum wage. Any money will help."

Today's 70 cent increase is the second of three increases required by a 2007 law.

Next year, minimum wage workers will get another raise taking the federal minimum to $7.25 an hour.

Reported by Brandi Cummings

Posted by Bryce Mursch

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