New survey shows local business owners oppose minimum wage hike

By Denise Jackson

March 12, 2013 Updated Mar 12, 2013 at 6:43 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- A new Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce poll shows many local business owners do not like Governor Pat Quinn's proposal to raise the state's minimum wage to $10.50.

Out of those surveyed, 84-percent of the business owners say they are opposed to the idea.

Illinois Central College student Geoff Kasper has three jobs and is spending his spring break working in the college's marketing department.

"Gas money is crazy getting back and forth from school to work and to home," he said.

Kasper and another student Cydney Norvill said they would like to see an increase in the minimum wage. Governor Pat Quinn would like to see it increased over five years from $8.25 to $10.50. Norvill said the move would give employees an incentive for doing better than average on the job.

"You're getting good workers. I don't see why you shouldn't be able to pay them a little bit more personally. I think it's a good investment," she said.

Haddad's co-owner Rita Speck does not like the idea. She said raising the minimum wage could hurt lunch-time business at the downtown Peoria restaurant.

"I'm all for making more money. My only concern is the fact that the minimum wage is gonna rise, then it's gonna come from our supplies. Our prices will go up again. We can't just change prices on a daily basis," Speck said.

In a recovering economy it is not just students who are working minimum or low wage jobs. Corporate downsizing or restructuring has forced many people to take pay cuts.

Amanda White works as a waitress at Haddad's. The single mother of four also opposes raising the minimum wage, saying smaller employers like hers would have to cut workers.

"I think that our $8.25, $8.50 is fine per hour. I think working here is great. When you work at a place where people appreciate you they're gonna support you. If you have a support system you're gonna go further no matter how much you're making," she said.

The college students we spoke with hopes White is right. Geoff Kasper said even with several jobs it's tough.

"It's not easy at all you have to make sacrifices," he said.

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