Illinois House Passes $15 Minimum Wage Bill

Illinois House Passes $15 Minimum Wage Bill

The Illinois House has approved a proposal that would raise the state's minimum wage to $15 an hour over five years.

House lawmakers voted 61 to 53 Tuesday.

Democratic state Rep. Will Guzzardi of Chicago says the plan would help working people make ends meet.

Illinois' minimum wage is $8.25. Under the plan, workers age 18 and over would see the wage jump in increments until 2022. The plan also includes a tax credit for businesses with 50 employees or fewer.

Opponents, including retail groups, say raising the wage hurts businesses.

Republican state Rep. Keith Wheeler of Oswego says the plan will make Illinois more uncompetitive.

It's unclear whether Gov. Bruce Rauner will sign the bill. The Republican has said he'd support a minimum wage increase in conjunction with other regulatory changes.

The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce issued the following statement regarding the passing of SB 81 out of the Illinois House, which would raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2022:

"Over the last several years Chicagoland businesses have seen taxes, fees and mandates that have totaled over $2 billion. The business community cannot withstand further costs from a $15 an hour minimum wage, which places undue burden on our state's employers and further inhibits business development and job growth in Chicago. We need to do the hard work of investing in our citizens' workforce development, including vocational training, community college, and the trades. Not a politically expedient raise in the starting wage that does nothing to ensure that people are uplifted out of poverty over the long term. Should the Senate concur, we strongly urge the Governor to stand up for the business community by vetoing SB 81," said Theresa E. Mintle, president & CEO, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce.

Following is the statement of SEIU Healthcare Illinois President Greg Kelley following passage today in the Illinois House of Representatives of Senate Bill 81, to raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2022:

“While corporations are enjoying record profits, workers in Illinois are suffering. Today, the House of Representatives took a historic step to reversing this course and building our economy from the bottom-up, instead of placing our faith in the misguided hope that prosperity will trickle down.
“Senate Bill 81 represents a major advance for Illinois and is the answer to so many of the pressing questions facing our state. Growing inequality. Revenue problems and the related cuts to services. Population loss. The manufactured budget crisis. On behalf of our workers, I congratulate the representatives who chose to act boldly for our future.
“Opponents of raising the wage during today’s debate used the same old stale and discredited scare claims about automation and job loss. But we know, as our allies do, that nonpartisan, peer-reviewed research shows that raising the wage does NOT lead to significant relocation or unemployment. Its MAIN effect is giving workers a living wage.
“Now, as the legislative session comes to a close, we ask our allies in the Senate to pass this legislation that will help 2.3 million workers, grow our economy and give Illinois a much-needed raise.”

Mark Grant, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, released the following statement in response to the House vote on Senate Bill 81, legislation to raise the state minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022:

“Today’s vote was about partisan politics, not addressing the real problems facing Illinois’ working families and small businesses.
“SB81 is bad legislation that’s going to hurt the very people lawmakers say they’re trying to help. Small businesses will bear the brunt of the cost, and their employees will pay the price in the form of fewer jobs and fewer opportunities.
“According to the NFIB Research Center, raising the state minimum wage to $15 an hour will result in 93,000 fewer jobs across the state and reduce Illinois’ real output by over $56 billion over the next 10 years.
“If the government dictates an increase in the cost of labor, employers have two options. They can raise prices, or they can try to get by with fewer workers. If you can’t afford as many workers, you’re going to be very careful about the workers you do hire. You’re going to want employees you know can do the job. You can’t afford to take a risk on people with little or no experience.
“SB18 does include a tax credit for employers, ostensibly to help offset higher labor costs, but it’s just a bit of misdirection. SB81 comes with so many hoops that few small businesses can afford the time and effort to jump through them, and, even if they did, the credits wouldn’t come close to making up for a nearly 82 percent increase in the state minimum wage.
“Our members want to thank the legislators who voted against SB81. We’re urging Governor Rauner to veto this partisan bill and hoping that the legislature will finally stop playing games and start working with the governor to pass a budget and find ways Illinois can attract—and keep—good-paying jobs.”

The Illinois Retail Merchants Association (IRMA) issued the following statement regarding the passing of the minimum wage bill out of the Illinois House that seeks to increase the minimum wage in Illinois to $15.00 per hour by 2022:

"The political campaign to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour has already resulted in reduced hours and eliminated positions in major cities where this has been enacted, including the City of Chicago. In fact, we have seen automation and self-service alternatives replace jobs due to continued efforts to artificially increase wages through government actions instead of working with employers. Quite simply, the state cannot bear another proposal that eliminates what little opportunity exists in Illinois. We urge lawmakers to show more restraint when making decisions that significantly and negatively impacts a business' bottom line."
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