Illinois minimum wage increases - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff


Illinois minimum wage increases

Illinois minimum wage increases
By: Erica Byfield

Ill. - It's a minimum wage increase causing some maximum controversy.

On Sunday, July 1 Illinois will increase its minimum wage to one of the highest in the nation, $7.50 an hour.

We were all young once and know what it's like to have bills

"I pay my insurance and gas," said Keaton Beard.  He said it's a little tough to make ends meat. 

"I need more money," said Bears. "I can't make it on $6.50."   

Starting July 1st, Beard and other minimum wage employees in Illinois will get to see some extra green in their paychecks.

"You get a raise, everybody is happy about that," he said.

"It's good and bad.  It does pump some money into the economy quickly, but the long term effect is what worries me with the gas prices the way that they are," said Mike Pool, the owner of Big Johns Supermarket. 

Up the road, it's all hands in dough as owner Jeff Bell prepares for the lunch rush, while Emily Farmer waits tables.

"It really affects the people in the back since I wait tables," Farmer said. "They're excited a bunch of teenage kids have more money to gas up their cars especially our delivery driver."

Illinois lawmakers approved the increase to $7.50 last year along with plans to raise the minimum wage a quarter every July until 2010.

Back at Big Johns, owner Mike Pool said his employees, like Keaton Beard, are beside themselves about the extra cash.

"They are all tickled to death to have more money in their pocket for sure," Pool said. 

"I started out making $5.50.  Now, I'm making $7.50 so it is a lot better," Beard said. 

Next on Beard's plate...get through college, he adds thankfully mom and dad are picking up the tab on that because $7.50 an hour would not cut it.

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