Owner calls minimum wage hike bad for business - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Owner calls minimum wage hike bad for business

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WSIL -- Businesses in Illinois could soon be forced to pay their employees nearly double an hour. 

Governor-elect J.B. Pritzker says he wants to increase the minimum wage from $8.25 to $15 an hour gradually over several years. 

In doing so, he wants to compensate businesses by offering tax credits to make sure small businesses are not affected. 

17th Street Barbecue in Murphysboro is one of those small businesses that could feel the impact of hiking up wages. 

Amy Mills is co-owner of the restaurant. She says Pritzker's plan would devastate her business. 

"Our menu prices would have to rise so high that I don't think our locals would be able to eat out very often," Mills said. "To me, raising the minimum wage really is penalizing the mom and pops."

During his stop in Springfield on Monday, Pritzker reminded everyone the increase would happen over several years. 

"I feel like in this area would be so difficult to even raise the hourly wage in increments because we still will be raising prices to keep up," Mills said. 

The increase was a major promise on Pritzker's campaign trail. 

A statement sent to News 3 from the Pritzker campaign says:

"J.B. ran for governor on a promise to put Springfield back on the side of working families and that means raising the minimum wage. J.B. supports raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour and will work with the General Assembly to set a time line for making that a reality. As governor, J.B. looks forward to bringing business and community leaders to the table to increase the standard of living for workers, help small businesses thrive and grow our economy."

Last week, Pritzker told Capitol Fax, he thinks lawmakers can approve his plan in the first six months of being in office.

Besides increasing the minimum wage throughout the state, Pritzker wants to shield small businesses by using a tax relief. 

Chicago's minimum wage is $12 per our and will increase to $13 next year. 

Mills says she wants the state to do more research before the new wage becomes law. 

"I would love to pay people more money, but I'm not sure mandating that is the way to go about it," Mills said. 

Pritzker officially takes office Jan. 14. 

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