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Letters to the Editor

Hike minimum wage, and jobs will feel pinch

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 seeks to increase Illinois’ minimum wage to $10 an hour. Illinois already has the fourth highest minimum wage in the nation 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. While 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 is young people, often in their first job, and their rate of unemployment (16-19 years of age) stands at 26.5 percent in Illinois and 48 percent in the city of Chicago.

Employers are already 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 for each employee.

Higher minimum wages do not alleviate poverty. While 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.

Note to readers – David Vite is president/CEO of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association. Kim Maisch is Illinois state director of the National Federation of Independent Business.

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