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Small businesses may have to make drastic cuts due to minimum wage bill’s passage

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A day after the Illinois legislature passed a $15 per-hour minimum wage increase, small business owners say they are going to face drastic decisions.

The gradual increase to $15 an hour will be phased in over the course of the next few years, beginning in 2020.

Pete Gwizdala, Vice President of the Illinois License and Beverage Association, a small business owner himself, lobbied against the bill as it was being discussed.

He says the cost to keep some employees may not be worth it.

“I know, six years doesn’t seem quick. People are going to have to start looking at what their employees are making right now and, in order to not take the big hit later, they’re going to start making changes,” Gwizdala said. “You’ve got an employee working 2,080 hours a year, for a full time employee that’s over $2,000 just in payroll.”

Businesses with fewer than 50 employees will be eligible to apply for a tax credit, beginning at 25-percent the first year.

However, the tax credit decreases every summer until eventually zeroing out.

Governor Pritzker plans on signing the bill in time for his state budget address, which is scheduled for Wednesday, February 20th.

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