Smith Filter Corporation knows a lot about hard work.
The family-owned business in Moline serves a variety of domestic and international clients.
“Jobs are important,” said Jana Lecander, Smith Filter’s president. “It’s important for people to get back to work.”
But they worry that a proposal to hike the Illinois minimum wage to at least $10 could have the opposite effect. It could discourage Illinois companies from hiring more workers.
“That’s one person without a job,” Lecander continued. “That’s one person that’s on unemployment. Personally, I think that hurts the state of Illinois right there.”
But Gov. Pat Quinn is focusing on jobs and economic growth during the State of the State Address on Wednesday, January 29, 2014. He says that a higher minimum wage can fight in the war on poverty.
“That’s not right,” he said. “That’s not an Illinois value. That’s not a fair shake. This is all about dignity and decency.”
Gov. Quinn’s themes revolve around an Illinois comeback by building the middle class. At Smith Filter, that’s important for growing business in Illinois.
The company is off to a busy start in 2014. 55 employees produce a variety of products. All of them make above minimum wage.
Still, the company would prefer a slower, steadier climb to the minimum wage.
“I don’t have a problem with them raising the minimum wage,” said Sharilyn Solis, company president. “But jumping it that high is not good for a company by any means.”
There are other options to keep companies like Smith Filter growing.
“If they could offer some existing businesses the incentives that they offer to bring in new businesses, I think that will be good,” said Jim Solis, company vice president.
Solid ideas from the state of this 75-year-old local company.