Students share their thoughts on increasing minimum wage

Shamaine Ware, Contributing Writer

Students on campus shared mixed opinions about a bill passed by the House on Feb. 14 to increase Illinois’ minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025.

Marcus Burns, a junior majoring in applied engineering technology, said making $15 a hour is good for workers, but it has its downfall.

“It would suck for entry-level college graduates to be making the same amount as someone who has never been to college, but at least with your college degree you can go places people without a college degree can’t,” he said.

Jackson Tinch, a junior majoring in digital media, said $15 an hour sounds good, but there are clearly going to be unintended consequences.

“At first (glimpse), $15 sounds awesome, but I would have to see what the repercussions are going to be. From what I understand, (the state’s government) would want to increase it gradually year after year, so I would like to see year one what (that changes) about the economy,” he said.

Jeremiah Gorman, a senior majoring in applied engineering technology, said he thinks it is great for people who are going straight into the workforce without any education.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for young people coming out of school who don’t want to go to college. I think it’s a great starting point for people who are looking for careers,” he said.

Students agree there are pros and cons to the minimum wage increase.

Tinch said he is worried about how the bill would affect small towns.

“The main thing I’m worried about is the price of products going up and if raising the minimum wage will hurt small businesses in the area, because I know a lot of them only have a couple of people employed a day, and a lot of them are minimum wage,” he said.

Tinch said he is also worried about the negative impact the minimum wage increase could have on small businesses.

“Some places can’t even afford to offer healthcare benefits, so I’m wondering once minimum wage increases, do (small businesses) have to decrease staff? Do they have to close down earlier in the day? Shorten their hours or even close down entirely?” he said.

Kofi Bazzell-Smith, a junior majoring in studio art, said he does not feel educated enough to speak on the subject, but he can see pros and cons.

“I can see pros and cons to the bill. My first instinct is to think yeah, it is better to lift up poor people and let people have higher wages. Of course I think that’s important, but what does that (entail)? Because the money goes somewhere. We’re not creating new money that’s just going to cause inflation,” he said.

Overall, students felt the wage increase would be exciting if the repercussions were predictable.

Shamaine Ware can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].