Capitol Fax (Illinois): It's Just a Bill

Capitol Fax, May 30, 2017

... Members of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage representing a range of industries across Illinois commented in support of raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2022.

Dan Sherry, Owner, Kennedy’s Creative Awards, Waukegan: “Gradually raising Illinois’ minimum wage to $15 is the smart thing to do for our state, our businesses and our people. We start our employees now at $12 an hour and treat them well in order to retain quality staff. And it works. Our staff turnover is low, which results in fantastic customer service and repeat customers. That’s what it takes to have a strong business. When more businesses pay higher wages and workers have more money to spend, it will create a stronger Illinois business climate.”

Robert Olson, Owner, Olson & Associates in Springfield, Washington and Lombard: “Every day I see hardworking men and women who want to protect their families with insurance, but are struggling just to get by on low wages. Raising the minimum wage is a kind of insurance for both businesses and workers. It will enable workers to make ends meet and it will boost the consumer spending that drives business and strengthens the economy.”

David Borris, Owner, Hel’s Kitchen Catering, Northbrook: “Raising the minimum wage is pro-business. Local small businesses have a deeply personal interest in the financial health of the communities we do business in. The wellbeing of our customer base and our workforce shows in our bottom line. A healthy economy needs money circulating widely in a virtuous cycle of rising wages, consumer demand and job creation. That’s a recipe for success.”

Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks, CEO of Earth Friendly Products, which just celebrated 50 years of manufacturing in Addison: “Having manufactured in Illinois for 50 years, we know that raising the minimum wage to $15 will help businesses and employees thrive. Paying a living wage has improved our bottom line. We start employees at $17 and provide great benefits while selling our products at competitive prices. Our voluntary turnover rate is extremely low, our productivity has increased, and our profits continue to grow. Our ECOS brand is sold in 60 countries. And our employees are our greatest brand ambassadors.”

Tim Frick, Owner, Mightybytes, Chicago: “Raising our state’s minimum wage to $15 is smart business and smart policy to jump-start our economy now and strengthen it over the long term. Illinois businesses need customers with more money to buy our products and services. Workers at one business are customers at another. We can’t grow the economy by paying wages that workers can’t live on and then bemoaning weak consumer demand. It’s why I strongly support legislation that would raise Illinois’ minimum wage to $15 by 2022.”

Michelle Knox, Owner, WindSolarUSA, Springfield: “No one working full-time should have to live in poverty, but Illinois’ current minimum wage isn’t enough for people to afford even the basics. That needs to change. We know from experience with our own current entry wage of about $13, that a higher minimum wage results in more productive and loyal employees. And when the minimum wage goes up across the state, workers turn around and spend their hard-earned dollars at local businesses, which boosts revenues. A higher wage floor is a win-win for workers and businesses.”

Scott Pfeiffer, Partner, Threshold Acoustics, Chicago: “The current state minimum wage doesn’t allow working people to meet their basic needs, which is bad for business and our economy. When employees earn more, they spend it on goods and services they couldn’t afford before. This boost in consumer spending helps businesses grow and create more jobs – including the businesses that form our client base. A gradual increase in Illinois’ minimum wage to $15 by 2022 will strengthen our communities, boost businesses’ bottom lines and help reduce the strain on our social safety net – all of which will bolster our economy.”

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