Push to raise minimum wage in Illinois has many concerned there will be more consequences than benefits

A bill to increase the minimum wage in Illinois has passed through the Senate and is on its way to the House of Representatives. The bill would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour over a six-year span. For many people, they worry this pay increase could come at a cost.

Posted: Feb. 11, 2019 4:37 PM
Updated: Feb. 11, 2019 11:03 PM

MARSHALL, Ill. (WTHI)- Illinois Senate Bill 81 would increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

That increase would come over the span of six years.

Some people worry the increase would come at a cost.

At some point in our lives, most of us have worked a minimum wage job.

Lauren Dodd has worked at Crossroads Cafe for two years.

She said while more money would be nice, it's not fair to others who have college degrees.

"I didn't choose to go to college. Should I have? Yes. That's on everybody's own basis, but for the people that went to college for six years and are getting worked for ten years to max out at $15 an hour and somebody walks in the next day and starts at $15 an hour. That wouldn't cut it for me," said Dodd.

Dodd also feels the increase may cause a reaction and drive up living costs.

"I think it will just turn into big chain link processes. Every family business and small town restaurant is not going to be anything anymore," said Dodd.

Dodd said small town businesses care the most for their employees.

Her boss, Sonny Halimi opened the cafe 11 years ago.

Halimi said he would love to give his employees more money, but it's just not possible.

"I care more about the employees than myself. I feel bad sometimes you know, they don't make enough money you know. I wish I could pay them $15 or $10 per hour but it's just really hard," said Halimi.

Dodd said more money would be nice, but not if it creates more problems in the end.

"They're going to have to make that money to pay that money. I don't want to go buy a $15 cheeseburger. I don't want to buy a $12 bag of fries. We're not going to be able to afford to go anywhere," said Dodd.

Right now, the state's minimum wage is $8.25 an hour.

Under the proposal, the minimum wage would increase by $1.75 next year.

It would continue to increase by one dollar each year until 2025.

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