Kim Clarke Maisch, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, testified today at the State Capitol that a bill to raise Illinois’ minimum wage to $10.65 an hour by 2016 would lead to the loss of 45,000 jobs and take a $32 billion bite out of the state’s economy over the next 10 years.
“The bottom line is that raising the minimum wage is not going to help Illinois’ economy or make things better for lower-income families,” she said.
“The reality is that it’s going to force employers to reduce hiring, and it’s going to discourage them from hiring people with few skills and no experience—the very people supporters of a wage increase say they’re trying to help.”
Citing the NFIB study, Maisch said “a meaningful share” of the job losses would occur in the retail and food service industries and that over half of the job losses would occur at small businesses.
Maisch also pointed out that Illinois’ economy, thus its business community, continue to see the recession in their “rearview mirror.”
Illinois is now tied for the second highest unemployment rate in the country, while neighboring states do better: Indiana (6.4%), Iowa (4.3%), Missouri (6%) and Wisconsin (6.1%). In fact, Illinois lost 27,600 jobs from December to January.
“Our state continues to struggle economically,” said Maisch. “Why would lawmakers consider such a massive minimum wage hike right now? They are slapping small business owners while they are down, instead of offering them a helping hand.”
Maisch also cited a Moody’s analytics study that says Illinois ranks 50th for potential job growth in 2014, expecting our state to only see 56,996 new jobs created.
“The past is bleak, but evidently so is the future, unless lawmakers focus on our economy and bringing good jobs back to our state,” she said.