Minimum wage increase proposed for Illinois

By Arnold Wyrick - bio | email

MARION, IL (KFVS) - Illinois' minimum wage workers could soon get a little more jingle in their pockets.  That is if a senate proposed increase passes in the General Assembly during the Spring Session.

Democratic State Senator Kimberly Lightford of Maywood is proposing taking the state's minimum wage from $8.25 an hour to a record $10 an hour.

"If they take this up to ten dollars an hour my monthly expenses will increase by almost $4,500," said Brenda Lawler owner of We 3 Girls Florist in Marion. "I will close my store.  It will be an immediate dissolving of my business."

If the measure passes the increase would not hit small business owners all at once. They would have to pay out an extra fifty cents yearly, along with the rate of inflation annually.

"I think the legislators in the State of Illinois are so self-centered, and arrogant that they don't have a clue what the middle-class working man is all about," said Lawler.

Just down the road at One Hot Cookie, owner Sarah Lavender says the proposed increase won't crumble her cookies into crumbs, but there won't be a lot left over.

"It could almost put us out of business with everything we have to do besides just raising the minimum wage, there's all the insurance, the workmen compensation and everything that goes along with it," said Lavender. "I would have to cut back on my employees to make sure I can make the payroll and take care of the taxes and insurance."

Both owners say raising their prices isn't an option to help them make up the increase in their payrolls.

Some taxpayers are also worried about how the increase will play out in their pockets.

"In light of the income tax increase and then you add on top of that a minimum wage increase, I'm not sure what that would do to businesses and ultimately our unemployment rate," said Judy Houston of Carterville.

"I'm all for people making more money, honestly ten dollars is probably pretty rough on small businesses. And small businesses need all the help they can get right now," said Dan Jennings of Marion.

Currently there are only two other states in the nation who have higher minimum wages then Illinois' $8.25 an hour, they are Washington at $8.67 and Oregon at $8.50 an hour.

The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.

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