Minimum wage increase proposal in IL has Heartland business owners talking

Minimum wage increase proposal in IL has Heartland business owners talking

ILLINOIS (KFVS) - Some Illinois lawmakers are proposing an increase in minimum wage.

On Monday, lawmakers, union workers and advocates joined together for a campaign kickoff in Springfield. The campaign is "Fight For $15," which seeks a higher hourly living wage.

Some business owners of Carbondale, Ill. say this will be great, while others are worried for their bottom line or being out of business.

One Heartland business owner, Lance Jack, has owned Fat Patties in Carbondale, Ill. for eight years.

He has 23 employees and starts his wait staff positions at $8.25.

"First off, if it's implemented before budget resolution, terrible idea. It's like working backwards. If it is something that we can implement slowly and there can be exemptions and benefits in the light for small business owners, then I think it makes great sense," Jack said.

Representative Will Guzzardi of Chicago is introducing this bill to congress this week to increase the minimum wage to $15.

Guzzardi said they have a provision in the proposal will create a tax credit for small businesses to help them recoup some of their cost to raise the minimum wage and "ease their overall tax burden," so owners can pay their employees more money.

"We already do our best in compensating our employees above minimum wage," Jack said with his employees in mind. "But here in Southern Illinois the demographics and economics make that harder to do…if everybody was doing it would make it easier for businesses to do so."

Jack said in the long run, this increase can be beneficial, as long as it's not implemented too quickly.

According to National Employment Law Project, lower cost regions of state workers will need $15 per hour by 2020 to cover their basics.

In the NELP January 2017 edition, according to Economic Family Institute's Budget Calculator, a single worker in Carbondale will need to earn over $31,000 a year by 2021 just to cover basic housing, food, transportation cost.

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