Local business discusses options for tip wage increase - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Local business discusses options for tip wage increase

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QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) - With talks of minimum wage increase in Washington, Illinois U.S. Senator Dick Durbin is now talking about increasing the minimum wage for tip workers.

Durbin says he wants to increase the minimum wage to 70 percent of the state's minimum wage. This would be an increase of almost a dollar for each of the Tri-States. Sprout's Inn Owner Jennifer Wiemelt says that she doesn't want to consider the possibility of letting workers go if she can't keep up with the pay.

"I can not even imagine because the whole reason I opened the place back up after the fire was just to give all my people that I've had here for years, 20 years and plus, their jobs back," Wiemelt said. "That was the main motivation behind rebuilding this place."

Local businesses say if the increase in wages were to pass, many family-owned restaurants may have to close up shop. Businesses say that the main reason some may close is not from paying the increased wages to workers, but the increase in taxes paid.

Other local businesses say consumers may not consider tipping as much, which would hurt the waiters. Randi Schwartz, a waitress at Sprout's Inn, says she thinks this could do more harm than good.

"I think it should be left alone," Schwartz said. "A waitress lives for her tips and if you are a good waitress you make good tips. So why worry about what you make per hour?"

Many local businesses said that prices of their menu items would have to increase in order to keep up with the increase in wages and taxes.

A few businesses said a change in the hours of operations may occur as well. They said they would have to consider being closed on days that business is slow to cut down on costs.

The federal tip minimum wage is $2.13, but all of the Tri-States have higher minimum wages for tip workers. Illinois stands at $4.95, Iowa is $4.35 and Missouri is $3.75.
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