Illinois Minimum Wage

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Lawmakers are considering a bill that would raise the minimum wage from $6.50 an hour to $7.50 an hour in Illinois. That's more than two dollars higher than the national minimum wage... Which is currently $5.15 an hour. Many business leaders worry another increase would make it difficult to attract new businesses to Illinois.

"The problem of doing it in the state of Illinois alone is it makes us that much more uncompetitive with surrounding states," said Jeff Stewart with the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.

There's a lot of debate over who a minimum wage increase would impact. Many restaurants already pay more than minimum wage because they want to reward their good employees for their hard work.

"We've always paid above minimum wage to attract that type of employee and it's all about relationships and balance," said Phil DiGiovanni, a franchise owner of Del Taco.

Advocates of a minimum wage increase say at least 300-thousand workers in Illinois are not as fortunate as Del Taco employees. Many small businesses still pay $6.50 an hour.

"People out here are trying to support their families. If you raise it to $7.50 on a 40 hour work week I think it equates to $15,600 per year. That's still around the poverty level, maybe below," said Representative Chuck Jefferson.

The Illinois senate already approved the law... But it still needs the green light from the house. Represenative Dave Winters expects the proposal to be voted on this week. However.. He does not support the increase.