Illinois Senate OKs $15 minimum wage, moves to House

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Senate has approved increasing the state’s minimum wage to $15 over six years.

The Democratic-controlled Senate voted 39-18 Thursday on a largely party-line vote. The proposal would increase the $8.25-an-hour minimum wage by $1.75 next year and $1 more on each Jan. 1 until 2025.

Republicans complained the cost to employers will be too high and Illinois will lose jobs. And they say state government will pay a steep price to absorb the cost taxpayer-financed institutions and those funded by Medicaid will have to pay.

“Businesses and non-profit social service organizations agree: an aggressive one-size-fits-all minimum wage for a state as economically diverse as ours will lead to fewer jobs for the poor and unskilled and serve as another incentive to move business out of state. Rather than being a leg up, this proposal will result in increased automation, decreased service and countless layoffs," said State Sen. Dan McConchie, R-Hawthorn Woods.

“The business and non-profit communities offered to negotiate a workable solution, but that has so far been rejected in favor of politics. If the majority doesn’t want to further bankrupt the state and accelerate the exodus, it should be reconsidered.”

Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford says she’s surprised to hear GOP lawmakers say they don’t want to help the working poor get off of public assistance rolls.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker hailed the state Senate’s approval of an increase in the minimum wage and told reporters Thursday that he’s "now delivering" on his campaign promise for a $15-an-hour minimum.

The pronouncement came an hour after the Senate OK’d 39-18 a six-year phased-in increase. Pritzker told Democrats who control the General Assembly he wants to sign an increase into law before he proposes his first annual budget on Feb. 20.

The House has to vote yet. But sponsoring Rep. Will Guzzardi, a Chicago Democrat, predicted success. Republicans and many business interests oppose the measure. They say the increased costs not only to the private sector but taxpayer-financed institutions will be prohibitive.

Lightford and Guzzardi won approval for a wage hike in 2017. Former GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed it.

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via Northwest Herald

February 7, 2019 at 03:06PM

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