Local reaction to potential minimum wage increase

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Some people in Illinois may be in line for a raise, thanks to lawmakers in Springfield.
A bill to raise wages to $15 an hour by 2025 now sits in the house after passing the senate.

Reactions are mixed about this effort. Democrats are in favor, while Republican lawmakers argue the bill would have a negative impact on small businesses. However, Michael Mayer, manager at Bobzbay in Bloomington, has a different take.

“You’re able to give them some stability. You’re able to develop your staff, and also you’re able to attract highly skilled people,” said Mayer.

Bobzbay has been in business for nine years. They buy, sell and trade things like books and music, and operate with a small staff.

“It’s not much more than what we pay already, so I think we can fit it into our business plan,” stated Mayer.

At Illinois State University (ISU), they have also been looking at their budget since they have around 4,000 student workers.

“Well, it’s certainly something we will have to account for. If this is passed, we will certainly have to look at how we would finance things and how we would pay for that,” said Director of Media Relations at Illinois State University, Eric Jome.

In the first year of the bill, ISU said they could see a $600,000 financial impact and by 2025, could take a $7.5 million hit. They hope to get state funding to help, but will also have to look internally.

“We would have to look at things like potential tuition increases to cover things, or perhaps it might come to fewer student positions,” stated Jome.

Spreading this out over six years would give businesses time to plan and adapt to the wage hike over time. For now, the next step for this plan is a vote in the state house.

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