Local Business Owners React to Proposed Minimum Wage Increase

Local News

As some state lawmakers push to increase the minimum wage, some local business owners are worried about what it could mean for their business.


Pat Sullivan owns Kelleher’s Irish Pub and Eatery in Peoria. He says increasing the minimum wage would harm local businesses like his and even threaten to shut some of them down.


“We are working on House Bill 198 to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.” State Representative Will Guzzardi said.


It’s the fight for fifteen proposed by some state lawmakers, a plan to raise the state’s minimum wage above the current $8.25 an hour.


“These folks, when they get that raise, they’re going to go spend that money in the economy, providing for their family, right, feeding themselves, feeding their children, providing new clothes, and better education. That money is going to go right into our businesses, right in the community, it’s going to lift up business.” Representative Guzzardi said.


Some local business owners say that’s not so, and it’s not sitting well with them.


“The small business people take the brunt of it and that’s the sad part.” Sullivan said.


Although many of Sullivan’s 38 employees are paid more than minimum wage, he still believes the change would force him to raise prices to make ends meet, impacting both his business and your wallet.


“Now you’re paying $9.25 hamburger it will probably be up to $12, $12.25,” Sullivan explained. “When you start raising it people stop doing things, does that help anybody?”


Sullivan says minimum wage jobs at his restaurant serve as a starting point for employees, not an end goal.


“Now if we start talking about graduating, graduation pay then you can say ‘Okay, is this guy worth keeping or not? I think he’s ready to graduate go to a different restaurant that pays more’ or he stays here and does what he can do.” Sullivan said.


This business owner is hoping the fight for fifteen is not won. 


“I’m not going to get as many people in to eat or drink or whatnot and so it becomes a ripple effect backwards.” Sullivan said.


If this bill is passed, the proposed changes would take effect over the next couple of years.


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