Illinois' minimum wage was a dollar sixty in 19-68. Although it's 8 dollars and 25 cents now, today's minimum wage is worth less. A measure approved by a Senate committee Wednesday would increase the minimum hourly wage to a level where it would regain its buying power. It calls for 50 cent annual increases in the minimum wage until it hits 10-55. At that point, it would stay indexed to inflation. Kelly Wingard says it's a change that could force her out of business. Wingard and her husband opened Wildflower Artisan Bakery and Cafe in Decatur in 2010. She says she can't absorb any additional payroll costs, without passing the increases on to her customers, which she fears would chase them away:
"We already face pressures from the increasing costs of coffee, chocolate, sugar, packaging, electricity, delivery fees, insurance, advertising and on and on."
But supporters say a minimum wage hike would increase families' buying power, and that would help the state's economy. Although the measure advances to the Senate floor, its sponsor says she'll continue negotiations on it.
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