State set for first increase in minimum wage

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (NEXSTAR) — Illinois is set to take its first step towards the 15 dollar minimum wage. At the start of the new year, it will go up by a dollar.

John Paul runs a bookshop in Springfield with his son. He already pays his employees above the minimum wage, so when illinois raises that by one dollar at the start of the new year, it won’t have any effect on him.

But later down the road they might start to feel it.

“Everybody’s issues are going to be different,” Paul said. “But we in general are in a business that has a declining market.”

Paul doesn’t know if he can keep up with the raising wages, but he doesn’t blame the state. He says the bigger issue is the market for bookshops.

“There is no way that we are aware of that we can ramp up sales that we know of,” Paul said. “Because if we did, we would do it today.”

But other businesses view it as a major problem. The Illiniois Chamber of Commerce lobbied against the raise in February, and are still against it. President of the Chamber of Commerce Todd Maisch said businesses are already making changes to staff and hours.

“How do you go ahead and get by with less employees? How do you go head and cut costs?” Maisch said. “There are a lot of studies out there state wide, that when you go aherad and raise minimum wage then businesses adjust.”

This is the first step in the five year staircase toward the 15 dollar minimum wage. After another 75 cent increase in july, minmum wage employees will bring in almost 3,000 dollars more this year than last.

And Paul sees that as a good thing

“We understand the situation our employees are in and we would be happy to pay them the new minimum wage,” Paul said. “The question is not do we want to do it but rather can we do it.”

By July of 2020, the minimum wage will hit 10 dollars per hour, From there, it will jump another dollar at the start of each new year, until 2025, when it hits 15 dollars an hour.

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