SPRINGFIELD - Illinois members of the National Federation of Independent Business overwhelmingly oppose any legislation that would increase the state's minimum wage.
That's according to the results of the 2013 NFIB/Illinois Member Ballot, released today. Unlike other business groups, NFIB doesn't have a board of directors that dictates its public-policy positions. NFIB's positions are based solely on input from its members; the Member Ballot is the most important part of that process.
"When we asked our members whether the General Assembly should raise the minimum wage, the answer was 'absolutely not,'" said Kim Clarke Maisch, state director of NFIB/Illinois, the state's leading small-business association, with over 11,000 dues-paying members representing a broad cross section of the state's economy.
According to the 2013 Member Ballot:
88.4 percent of members oppose a wage increase, compared with 5.5 percent who favor an increase and 6 percent who were undecided or didn't answer.
81.7 percent said they oppose tying the minimum wage to the Consumer Price Index to allow for automatic annual increases, compared with 9.5 percent who support the idea and 8.8 percent who were undecided or didn't answer.
"A recent study by the NFIB Research Foundation showed if Illinois raised the minimum wage to $10.65 and tied it to the CPI it would wipe out 21,000 jobs and reduce the state's economic output by roughly $4.5 million," Maisch said. "Sixty-seven percent of the jobs lost would be from the small-business sector.
"Small-business owners don't need politicians telling them how to run their businesses," she said. "If they really want to help the economy, legislators will simply get out of the way and let small-business owners run their own shops . Artificial wage hikes that may not reflect the current marketplace do little except cause employers to cut hours and jobs."
In addition to the question about the minimum wage, 94.6 percent of NFIB/Illinois members who returned ballots oppose legislation that would require employers to set up individual retirement accounts for their employees. Only 3.2 percent of members support such legislation, while 2.2 percent are undecided.
"Whether to offer an IRA is the kind of decision that's best left to the employers, who know what kind of benefits they can afford to offer, not to politicians trying to score easy points with voters," Maisch said.