Businesses and employees react to minimum wage increase proposal - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Businesses and employees react to minimum wage increase proposal

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QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is pushing again Tuesday for a minimum wage increase to $10 an hour.  But whether you live in Illinois or Missouri, employees and business owners say an increase could impact the entire area.

The minimum wage is 8.25 an hour, which is the 4th highest in nation, but this proposal would make Illinois the highest minimum wage earning state in the nation.  Businesses like the Mustard Seed say this could be a tipping point for many smaller businesses. 

It's a proposal that could affect all businesses in Illinois.  While Mustard Seed Co-Owner Jay Lawler says he's in favor of raising the minimum wage, $10 an hour would simply be too much.  

"I have no doubt it could close some small businesses.  I mean you're looking at people and even the small businesses are not sitting on a war chest of thousands of dollars in their back room that they sit on," he said.  

Businesses right across the river in West Quincy would also be affected.  Because of how close they are to the border, the majority of them pay their employees closer to the Illinois minimum wage instead of Missouri's $7.35 an hour.  Haley Anderson works at Smoker's Outlet in West Quincy and says if Illinois goes to $10 an hour, she'll consider working across the river.  

"Just because of how expensive everything is now and taxes are going up and it would make everything with living a lot easier," she said.  

But Quincy Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Amy Looten says raising the minimum wage is not the right move.  She said it won't only have a negative impact on businesses but entry level employees as well. 

"Mandating that an employer pay ten dollars an hour also mandates that that employee has to have some serious responsibilities and so it's really going to hurt that young person who's trying to get that very first job," Looten said. 

Governor Quinn says raising the minimum wage would put an extra 48-hundred dollars a year in a full time worker's pocket.  However, a bill to raise the minimum wage in Illinois hasn't left a legislative committee and opponents have fought it hard.

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