Higher wages for more than half-a-million Illinois workers went into effect over the weekend. Minimum wage employees will now get $7.50 an hour.
For Chicago Public Radio, Alex Helmick looks at how the pay hike affects local businesses.
Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich says nearly 650,000 people will benefit from the pay increases. The governor says wages should allow people to afford the basic necessities of life.
But small businesses say increases hurt their bottom line.
Kim Clarke Maisch runs the National Federation of Independent Businesses in Illinois. She says wages should be set by the market, not by lawmakers.
Clarke Maisch: These artificially set wages do very little except to cause prices to go up and often times cause people to lose their jobs.
Clarke Maisch says increased wages could also mean influx of part time workers and spur other employees to ask for pay hikes of their own.
Full time work at $7.50 an hour is about $15, 000 dollars a year.
For Chicago Public Radio, I’m Alex Helmick.