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Letter: Minimum wage hike will hurt workers, employers

Published: Saturday, April 27, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

To the Editor:

Illinois job creators are speaking with one voice: Adverse consequences from hiking Illinois’ minimum wage will far outweigh the alleged benefits that some are trying to accomplish in Springfield.

Senate Bill 68 will seek to increase Illinois’ minimum wage to $10 an hour. Illinois already has the fourth-highest minimum wage in the country at $8.25 an hour, higher than all neighboring states.

Employers cannot bear the repercussions of a minimum wage hike, and jobs will be lost.

Although national unemployment has dropped, unemployment in Illinois continues to rise this year, now standing at 9.5 percent. The overwhelming number of minimum wage workers are young people 16 to 19 years old, often in their first job, and their rate of unemployment stands at 26.5 percent in Illinois and 48 percent in the city of Chicago.

Employers already are bracing for the uncertain effects of implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in Illinois, estimated by analysts at approximately $3,000 in extra costs per employee.

Higher minimum wages do not alleviate poverty. Although the few employees who earn a wage increase might benefit from a wage hike, those who lose their jobs are noticeably worse off.

Moody’s Analytics has warned that Illinois is in danger of falling back into recession, one of just a handful of states in danger. Moody’s says, “Illinois has been among the Midwest’s weakest and is underperforming the nation in most economic gauges.”

As the job creators in Illinois, we cannot stand idly by and see our state slip back into a recession. Not now. Not ever again.

David Vite

President and CEO, Illinois Retail Merchants Association

Kim Maisch

National Federation of Independent Business, Illinois State Director

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