Small business fears consequences of minimum wage increase

By Beau Ebenezer

January 29, 2014 Updated Jan 29, 2014 at 11:51 PM CDT

CENTRAL ILLINOIS -- ICC student Briana Anderson has put herself through college for the past three years.

She has a minimum wage job and struggles to buy book after book.

Anderson said for those like her, the proposed $2.40 an hour increase would go a long way.

"The wage now is not adding up with the cost of living," said Anderson. "For people who have everyday jobs, like working in fast food businesses and retail, they don't make as much. It should be equal for everyone."

Some small business owners disagree.

Normal resident, Roger Look started his own lawn-care business 10 years ago.

He currently operates with several part-time employees.

If the minimum wage goes up, he may take on the entire operation by himself.

"We are going to have to raise our prices to our customers," said Look. "Customers well then look at us like we are getting too expensive. Then we will start to lose customers."

Other small business owners have similar concerns.

Rizzi's Italian Restaurant in Peoria employs about a dozen servers.

If legislation passes, the owner expects he will have to make major cuts.

"From a business perspective, I am getting squeezed from both sides," said Rizzi's owner, Bekim Rizvani. "I am paying more for food, people are making less money, and now I will have to pay more wages."

The bill is pending in both the House and the Senate.

It's the same push Governor Quinn made last year in his State of the State Address.

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