Senate passes $15 minimum wage bill

    Senate passes $15 minimum wage bill (MGN Online)

    The Illinois Senate passed a $15 minimum wage bill with a vote of 39-18. The measure now heads to the House for consideration.

    Senate Bill 1, which is the proposed bill, would gradually increase the minimum wage over a six year period.

    If this version of the bill becomes law, here's how it would be rolled out.

    Right now, the minimum wage is $8.25 an hour.

    In 2019, there would be two raises -- a $0.75 raise on Jan. 1 and a $1 raise on July 1 so that by the end of the year, the minimum wage is $10.

    Each year after that, there'd be a straight $1 increase until it reaches that $15 dollar mark in 2025.

    The proposal does include a plan to offset the impact on small businesses.

    The measure also makes tax credits available for companies with fewer than 50 employees.

    Those credits would gradually decrease and ultimately end by 2030.

    Responses to the passage of the bill have already started coming in.

    The Illinois Republican Party opposes the minimum wage plan, citing the huge cost to taxpayers and small business.

    “Pritzker’s minimum wage hike will crush small businesses and will cost taxpayers at least a billion dollars a year once the plan is fully implemented, and that’s not even a complete estimate. Pritzker’s administration has not disclosed the full amount of increased spending his wage hike would require. Pritzker’s reckless budgeting will cost taxpayers and small businesses dearly. It is yet another Pritzker proposal that will bankrupt Illinois.”

    - Illinois Republican Party Spokesman Aaron DeGroot

    Keeping the state’s business and economic climate in mind, State Senator Steve McClure (R-Springfield) is sharing concern over a proposal to bring a $15 minimum wage to Illinois. Sen. McClure voted against Senate Bill 1 on Thursday, Feb. 7, fully knowing it was a vote in the best interest of the state’s already struggling economy.

    “One of the biggest problems we have is that people and businesses are leaving the district I represent and new businesses are not coming here,” said Sen. McClure. “This bill pretends that those living in Springfield, Pittsfield, and Jacksonville have the same living expenses as people in Chicago. They do not. There are going to be real consequences—increased prices for goods and services, decreased hours of employment, the loss of jobs, higher costs of education at every level, and the potential for increases in property taxes to pay for it. Businesses will close or move because of this bill and it will deter new businesses from coming here.”
    The last time Illinois raised its minimum wage was in 2006, and by 2007 the state had lost 50,000 jobs. The first jobs to go were vital entry-level jobs.
    “A one size fits all approach is the wrong approach for an aggressive measure of this sort,” said Sen. McClure. “The differences between Chicago and my region of the state are vast and have not been taken into consideration.”

    Governor JB Pritzker hosted a press conference on the bill's passage Thursday afternoon.

    Pritzker's remarks on the bill can be read below:

    "Today, the state senate made it clear that working families in Illinois deserve a raise, and they're going to get one.
    If you live in this state and put in a hard day’s work, you should be able to afford to put a roof over your head and food on the table.
    This is a long time coming, and we’re not done yet, but we’re closer than ever before.
    Working families have not gotten a raise in Illinois since July of 2010. 9 years. And that raise was 25 cents.
    I don’t need to tell anyone standing with me today that this achievement didn't happen overnight.
    It was the result of years of hard work by leaders in the General Assembly like Senator Kim Lightford, Representative Will Guzzardi, and all of our co-sponsors: Senators Collins, Martinez, Munoz, Hunter, Van Pelt, and Peters.
    It was the result of years of steadfast dedication from workers in every corner of Illinois and organizations like Women Employed and Fight for $15 who demanded to be heard.
    And it was the result of business groups and business leaders who want to pay workers a living wage, and who are willing to work together to take responsible steps forward.
    All of these advocates brought stakeholders together and brought us to this moment when we are on the cusp of bringing a $15 minimum wage to Illinois.
    I’m pleased that the interests of communities across this state are represented in this bill.
    Workers in East St. Louis and Peoria, doing the same job, deserve to be paid the same wage as workers in Chicago.
    A 6-year period will allow businesses time to plan and adapt to this legislation.
    This bill has the support of the Illinois Restaurant Association and will allow restaurant workers and restaurant owners to succeed.
    And small business tax credits will help ensure that suburban and downstate businesses and non-profits are able to offset the offering of higher wages to their employees.
    I also want to be very clear that my administration will propose a balanced budget for the state – taking into account the effect of the new minimum wage.
    Human services and social service organizations are going to have the resources they need to pay their workers more and continue serving Illinois families.
    Public colleges and universities will get the funding they need to pay their staffs and begin recovering from years of underfunding.
    Today was a major victory for working families all across the State of Illinois, but our work is not done. I urge the House of Representatives to take up and pass this legislation. I want to thank Rep. Guzzardi for his leadership on this issue along with Leader Hoffman, Rep. Evans, and their many colleagues who are working in the House to make this happen.
    After nine long years, we are now on the verge of Illinois workers getting the raise they deserve.
    Thank you to Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton for your tireless work on behalf of working families and helping to get this passed, and thank you again to everyone here today and across our state who made this possible."

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