The Governor said he's calling on lawmakers to raise the minimum wage to $10 over the next four years.
In his State of the State speech Wednesday he said, "Nobody in Illinois should work 40 hours a week and live in poverty. That's why, over the next four years, we must raise the minimum wage to at least ten dollars an hour."
That proposal from the Governor leaves small business owner Frank Abdnour troubled and burdened with what's next. He said, "We just went through this, what? Three, four years ago?"
Abdnour owns The Spotted Cow in Peoria. He said small businesses like his already operate as efficiently as possible, and are still struggling to make ends meet. He said, "It's just a big, big burden, because it's not just minimum wage, because on top of that your unemployment taxes go up and Illinois is already one of the highest in workman's comp insurance in the country."
Abdnour said if the minimum wage goes up, that will force him to cut back on his good employees and he won't be able to hire anyone new.
He said, "What it means for me is I probably won't hire as many high school or college, seasonal or part-time kids."
Local lawmakers said they understand his stress and share some of his same concerns.
State Representative Jehan Gordon-Booth said, "Unfortunately, you create a situation where people believe they are getting ahead but they're not... you have greater unemployment."
State Senator Darin LaHood said, "The last time we raised the minimum wage in Illinois, Illinois lost 50,000 jobs."
Abdnour said he hopes his voice is heard and the state will do more to support small business. "I pay them as well as I can, this is just going to put more hardship on people trying to make it in these difficult times."
Right now, minimum wage stands at $8.25. It was last raised in 2010.