Push for and against minimum wage hikes - Wandtv.com, NewsCenter17, StormCenter17, Central Illinois News-

Push for and against minimum wage hikes

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One of the President's focuses in his State of the Union address was minimum wage hikes. Right here in Central Illinois, possible increases could affect many low income employees, but it could also affect small businesses.

Raising minimum wage is an issue for the country, the state and Central Illinois.

"We sometimes don't get paid," said James Peterson owner of University Dogs. "If we don't make enough money to pay ourselves, we work for free. That's the life of a small business person."

Peterson is facing tough times, but he also knows that the $8.25 cents his workers start off making is tough, too.

"It's hard to live off of that, number one, it's not a lot of money, minimum wage," he said.

But raise that $8.25 an hour to $10.00 an hour and Peterson's business could go through serious changes.

"I'd have to raise my prices, number one, possibly let somebody go or possibly go out of business if I can't manage," Peterson explained.

These repercussions comes as no surprise to Professor of Political Science Larry Klugman.

"If you pay people more, you're going to have to charge a customer more for whatever those people do when they receive their pay," Professor Klugman explained. "The small businesses are going to feel it the worst."

But it's an overall goal with good intentions: to improve the economy.

"It's not the best piece of logic, but it's a tool they have to work with right now. And the best hope is that if you raise minimum wage, you will encourage more people to seek employment and to be employable," he said.

As for Peterson, he may have to prepare for the worst, "It's just another year, another year basically, if I'm still in business next year, of not getting paid at all," but hope for the best.

Illinois' minimum wage is one dollar higher than federal pay. Professor Klugman said he thinks that eventually the state will have a higher minimum wage than it does right now. But it will not pass easily.

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