How would proposed min wage increase affect southern Illinois? Businesses, workers weigh in

CARBONDALE, IL — Imagine finding out you would be guaranteed to have your pay doubled over the next six years. Sounds good right? A bill in Illinois that is expected to pass would raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour over that time.

It was a busy lunch rush at Mary Lou’s Grill in Carbondale, but the potential minimum wage increase has owner Marilynn Martin worried about the future.

“You’ll see a lot of small businesses go out of business or leave Illinois,” said Martin.

The restaurant has been open since 1962. Over time, Martin has seen rising taxes and a drop in business. She said adding a higher minimum wage to that will create problems.

“If they raise the minimum wage to what they’re thinking, all it will do is raise prices on everything. I can’t afford to pay big bucks here, but the ones who are way above it already will never see another raise,” said Martin.

The current minimum wage in Illinois is $8.25 an hour. The plan would increase it to $9.25 on Jan. 1, 2020, then $10 on July 1. After that, the wage would increase by $1 each Jan. 1 until 2025.

Nick Peterson is a minimum wage worker. He said the boost would give him the opportunity to save more money and pay his bills. “I would love to make $15 an hour,” said Peterson.

But, he said he realizes it’s a complicated issue. “For me, it would be great. I just don’t know what it would do for Illinois as a whole,” said Peterson.

Martin understands that it sounds like a good idea, but she said she believes it’s not the answer. “Everyone deserves a fair wage, but have a minimum wage and bring them in at that. Then, once they’ve been at that job a certain period of time, then you say let’s evaluate your performance,” said Martin.

The bill passed the Illinois Senate with a vote of 39-18, and will now go before the House.




Related Articles

Ky. House passes bill to ban most abortions if Roe v. Wade overturned The Kentucky House has passed a bill that would ban most abortions in the state if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns its decision legalizing the proced...
Supreme Court Justices to decide if 2020 census can ask about citizenship The Supreme Court will decide whether the 2020 census can include a question about citizenship that could affect the allocation of seats in the House ...
Local high school fishing coach charged with sex offenses On Thursday, the McCracken County Sheriff's Office was contacted by Kentucky State Police on allegations of inappropriate contact and communication be...
Midday weather update: 2/15/19 A quick moving storm will bring a icy mess on the roads this afternoon into the evening.