House balks at matching Senate’s offsets for a wage hike

WASHINGTON The foodservice industry’s hopes for bigger federal wage concessions were dimmed when the House of Representatives passed a bill Friday that included $1.8 billion in small-business tax breaks over 10 years.

Apreviously passed Senate bill to raise the federal minimum wage by nearly 40 percent to $7.25 a hour had included $8.3 billion in tax credits and deductions as offsets to ease the blow of higher labor costs on employers.

The House’s Feb. 19 passage of the Small Business Tax Relief Act of 2007, approved by a bipartisan 360-45 vote, was seen as clearing the way for a House-Senate compromise on legislation to raise the federal hourly minimum wage, which has been $5.15 for a decade.