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Businesses, especially small businesses, are the backbone of our economy in Central Illinois and the rest of the state. Senate Bill 1 approved by the Illinois Senate and House proposes will raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025. This minimum wage increase does not help to recruit and retain existing business, nor enable them to create jobs, grow our economy and support our communities.

The Greater Decatur Chamber of Commerce, as part of the Central Illinois Regional Chamber Legislative Efforts, asked our state representatives to consider the long-lasting effects of Senate Bill 1, and to attempt to mitigate the damage handed to our job creators and the businesses that build the heart of this state.

Chambers of Commerce comprising of communities, in Canton, Decatur, East Peoria, Galesburg, McLean County, Morton, Pekin, Peoria, Springfield, and Washington surveyed their membership and requested impact testimonials. With over 500 responses; 91 percent cite SB1 as a major concern to business operations. The top 4 impacts are:

1. 70 percent will raise prices to cover costs

2. 63 percent will reduce hours for employees

3. 62 percent will slow down hiring new positions

4. 48 percent will lay off employees

More significantly, 17 percent (approximately 85 businesses) will consider closing their business.

Locally, we heard from members that said:

  • “We have six employees that would be raised to $15 an hour, this would be a $30,000 increase to our budget line. This does not include retirement, social security or impact to workman’s compensation.”
  • “Minimum wage is a training wage, it is not supposed to be a living wage. A higher minimum wage will put people out of work because we will need to invest in automation to offset costs.”
  • “With today’s technology more and more businesses can work from any state, I have 5 businesses I would consider moving them all.”
  • “Layoffs for certain and the regrettable inevitability of selling at a loss or closing the doors for a complete loss of life savings and 8 years of hard work.”
  • “Please for the love of small business, please don’t pass this!”
  • “Rural markets, free enterprise, the constitution, Christ, and the right to operate your life without government intervention is being eroded at an exponential rate. It is time to stand against the people who are targeting those basic freedoms.”

The Chamber is the voice of business – we are standing up for our members and advocating on their behalf. We are doing everything we can to have our our members’ voices heard.

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Mirinda Rothrock is President of the Greater Decatur Chamber of Commerce.

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