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Businesses Fear Proposed Minimum Wage Increase
Gov. Pat Quinn recently proposed increasing the minimum wage from $8.25 to $10.50. He has received backing from lawmakers in Chicago, but business owners in central Illinois say costs will go up and jobs will be lost if Quinn gets his way.
Vanessa Komnick has owned her hair salon in Lincoln for almost nine years.
Although the business has grown, a proposal at the statehouse may keep it from expanding.
"I feel like the small businesses, if it's going to hit anybody, it's us," Komnick said.
She's talking about if the minimum wage increases, a proposal supported by Quinn.
Lawmakers from Chicago are drafting a bill to raise minimum wage from $8.25 an hour to $10.50.
Komnick said she just can't afford the raise.
"Just to make up for the difference we'd have to increase our service cost," she said.
It's not just her salon. Andi Hake from Lincoln's Chamber of Commerce fears it could cost business owners much more.
"I even heard from a couple of businesses, they'd just close their doors," Hake said.
She said some business owners even fear closing their doors. Local lawmakers are hearing what people are saying and agree that raising minimum wage would not have a positive effect on the economy.
"To make up for the extra cost that they have to incur they will probably raise the price of their widgets," Sam McCann, Republican Senator for the 50th District, said. "The folks that you're actually trying to help the most have to go to the store and buy at an inflated costs."
Komnick believes the minimum wage increase will affect future entrepreneurs as well.
"There's not much there as an incentive for small business owners to get started or anything to help them stay in business," she said.
This would not be an overnight increase. The proposal would raise minimum wage 50 cents every year until it reaches $10.50. Out of all the businesses in Logan County's Chamber of Commerce, only two said they would agree to the increase.
Chambers of commerce from several central Illinois cities participated in a survey about the proposal. In Decatur, 88 percent of businesses oppose the minimum wage increase. Only 12 percent are for it.