Governor Hails Passage Of Bill To Raise Illinois Minimum Wage To $15 By 2025

 
Dome of the Illinois Capitol Building in Springfield.

Dome of the Illinois Capitol Building in Springfield.

WUIS

A $15-an-hour minimum wage is headed to Gov. J.B. Pritzker after the Illinois House approved the six-year plan. Thursday's 69-47 vote in the House almost guarantees it will become law. The measure passed the Illinois Senate last week, on a vote of 39 to 18.

Pritzker, a Democrat, has pledged to sign the legislation (SB1) it before Wednesday, February 20th. That's when he unveils his first annual budget plan. He stood on the House floor during the roll call with the bill's sponsor, State Rep. Will Guzzardi of Chicago.

“Phasing in the minimum wage over the next six years will put $6,300 a year into the pockets of nearly a quarter of our state’s workforce and billions of dollars into local economies in every corner of our state,” said Pritzker in a statement.

The measure would increase Illinois’ $8.25 minimum wage to $9.25 on Jan. 1 and $10 on July 1, 2020. It then would increase $1 each Jan. 1 until 2025. The federal minimum wage remains at $7.25 an hour, as it has been since 2009.

The minimum wage bill passed in the House with no Republican support. Republicans complained the increase is too steep and happens too fast. They say businesses will raise prices and cut jobs or even close.

Illinois GOP spokesman Aaron DeGroot said the bill “will bust budgets at every level of government, destroy jobs, and make our state an even less desirable place to start and grow a business.”

Business groups want a tiered minimum wage with lower base levels in parts of the state with lower costs of living.

Illinois Manufacturers’ Association president and CEO Mark Denzler said in a news release that “the IMA and the business community offered real alternatives to help mitigate the negative impact of increasing the minimum wage by 82 percent, but lawmakers ignored our suggestions and concerns.”

State Treasurer Michael Frerichs, in hailing the bill’s passage, acknowledged the concerns about the minimum wage increase expressed by business owners. But in a news release, the Champaign Democrat said their concerns should be reduced by the availability of tax credits for small business, and the fact that the minimum wage will not reach the $15 dollar level until 2015.

“This is the first increase in the minimum wage in nearly 10 years,” said Frerichs. “Larger paychecks will help lift working people out of poverty and lead to increased economic spending at our local businesses.”

Story source: WILL