Governor Calls for Minimum Wage Increase

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By Stephanie Tyrpak

ILLINOIS -- Governor Pat Quinn is making another push for higher wages. However, some local business managers believe the move could do more harm than good.

Quinn made the proposal to raise the rate from $8.25 to $10 in his State of the State address Wednesday. It follows the President's call Tuesday night in the State of the Union to raise the federal minimum wage.
 
"It's time to raise Illinois' minimum wage to at least $10 an hour," said Quinn. 
 
The Governor believes minimum wage workers deserve more money. 
 
"They're putting in long hours," said Quinn. "Yet it too many instances, they are living in poverty."
 
Illinois' hourly rate is already one of the highest in the nation. Quinn is confident that raising it to $10 would boost families everywhere.
 
"According to the Federal Reserve, for every dollar increase in the minimum wage, workers spend an additional $2,800 in their local communities," said Quinn.
 
However, some local business owners are worried about an opposite effect.
 
"Cut here, cut there, and cut there," said John McPeek with Mackie's Pizza. "We can't have any more cuts."
 
The Marion restaurant employs about 15 part-time workers. McPeek says many of those that make minimum wage in his restaurant are still in high school.
 
"The employee would lose hours because I would have to cut back tremendously," said McPeek. "Probably 20 percent on hours per week."
 
McPeek also fears he would have to raise prices to cover the pay increase. He says in a small shop, every dollar counts.
 
"I mean we have to watch everything we do," said McPeek. 
 
Owners at Black Diamond Harley Davidson have their own concerns, although Co-owner Rodney Cabaness says they currently don't have any minimum wage employees.
 
"We're fortunate enough to be able to pay a little bit higher than that," said Cabaness. 
 
That wasn't always the case for the dealership, especially during the early days when they were building their business.
 
"It allowed us to grow in a way that ultimately gave us the ability to pay higher than minimum wage," said Cabaness. 
 
Cabaness feels that increase could lead to other companies cutting back, costing jobs and hurting sales across southern Illinois.
 
"Just overall health of the economy in our area," said Cabaness. "You know I think it's better to have people working than not."
 
Another issue that Quinn raised Wednesday was sick time. He said that nearly half of the state's workers don't have a single sick day. He's calling for employers to give people at least two days a year.
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