Business owners are ready to fight an increase in the minimum wage. The minimum wage has been $8.25 an hour for 2½ years. A labor coalition wants to raise it to $10.50 an hour –equal to the minimum wage in 1968, adjusted for inflation – and then index the minimum to inflation every year after.
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Rob Karr, lobbyist for the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, says that’ll increase labor costs for businesses, and not just at the very bottom. “Anytime you artificially increase wages, it trickles upward into the other pay scales, so it’s not as though we’re dealing with just entry-level workers here,” he said. Karr says the current minimum, which he characterizes as “more than fair,” has been hard on retailers, and has deprived young people of job opportunities.
The minimum wage bill might come up in Springfield this week or next. It envisions raising the minimum 50 cents per year, plus inflation, until $10.50 is reached, and then going up with the rate of inflation.