Lawmakers Ask Voters To Weigh In On Minimum Wage Debate - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Lawmakers Ask Voters To Weigh In On Minimum Wage Debate

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Illinois lawmakers are asking voters to weigh in on the minimum wage debate. Do you support raising it from $8.25 to $10 per hour? The state general assembly has voted to put that question on the November ballot. Some Illinois residents say they're concerned for those earning minimum wage. They say they deserve more money.

"I'm all for it," Benetha Smith said. We need it badly. Everything else is going up, and the wages are down. We need to balance that out."

Danielle McGuire works at an East Moline gas station. She is paid just above minimum wage right now.

"All my life, I've pretty much made minimum wage," she said. "I have four children."

She says getting $70 more per week would make a big difference.

"That would mean that my kids would get more nice things than they do now," she said.

However, to a small business owner, like Psyndy Compton-Muse of Mama Compton's, giving each employee a raise would mean paying even more money than the higher salaries.

"Definitely against it," she said. "It's not so much the wage. It's the 40% on top of that that you have to pay, and I don't think our economy here, in the Midwest, can support it."

Due to taxes, social security and unemployment, she says the increase would really be like paying each person $14 per hour, not $10.

"And that's where it's going to hurt the small business owner," she said.

Right now, she pays four out of six employees minimum wage. If it increased, she says she would have to hire fewer people, which could make service slower, and customers might tip less.

"It's going to be a whole vicious circle," she said. "Eventually, things will adjust, somewhat, but you're going to see a loss that you're not going to be able to recoup."

The legislation for the ballot now goes to Gov. Pat Quinn, who supports increasing minimum wage. What the public votes in November is not final say. Lawmakers will review the results and move forward from there.

The minimum wage in Iowa, Indiana,Wisconsin and Kentucky is $7.25. Missouri's minimum wage is $7.50, and Minnesota's is $6.15.

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