Illinois lawmakers react to $15/hour minimum wage raise - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Illinois lawmakers react to $15/hour minimum wage raise

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Illinois lawmakers are reacting the the passage of legislation that would gradually increase the statewide minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025.

The Illinois minimum wage has been $8.25 per hour since 2010. The federal minimum wage has been $7.25 per hour since 2009 and remains unchanged.

Southern Illinois legislators all voted against the wage hike.

State Representative Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) spoke on the House Floor during the debate, and quickly cut to the issue of how much the increase will cost educational institutions.

Do you know what this will cost our entire University system? Do you know the overall cost this will have on SIU Carbondale, or SIU Edwardsville, or even to any of our community colleges? I represent an area with five nearby community colleges. How much is this going to eventually cost all of them?

118th District State Representative Patrick Windhorst (R-Metropolis) says he is concerned this will send businesses to other states.

Ramming through a $15 minimum wage without proper study is likely to have devastating, long-term effects on Southern Illinois’ economy... We have to be very concerned in Southern Illinois about where we are going to be able to employ our citizens. Profit margins are the only way that small business owners survive. Almost doubling the cost of labor will most certainly have small businesses and big businesses alike looking across our borders for friendlier business climates.

117th District State Representative Dave Severin (R-Benton), who is a small business owner himself, says he is afraid that the impact of such a large increase will result in more businesses closing and more people leaving the State of Illinois.

I guess you could call today a 'Valentine’s Day' massacre for Southern Illinois’ economy. This minimum wage hike is going to kill jobs, close businesses, and put Southern Illinois further behind in competition with our neighboring states... I’m hearing from businesses large and small, from local Chambers of Commerce, from staffing agencies, from human services providers…everyone’s worried that they’ll either have to close their doors or raise prices to an untenable point. If the Governor signs this legislation I’m certain that Southern Illinoisans will lose jobs, that businesses will close, and that our costs of living and educating our kids will go up. That is unfortunate. That is why I voted NO on SB 1 today.

Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs today hailed lawmakers for approving the legislation which Governor J.B. Pritzker is expected to sign.

This is a great day for working families across our state. This is the first increase in the minimum wage in nearly 10 years. Larger paychecks will help lift working people out of poverty and lead to increased economic spending at our local businesses.

Frerichs also acknowledged concerns expressed by opponents, including some business owners. However, Frerichs said tax credits for small businesses and the schedule of multiple years before the rate is at $15 per hour should reduce those concerns. 

House Speaker Michael J. Madigan released the following statement Thursday:

Today we made history in Illinois by increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour for the hardest working people in our state. We heard from people across Illinois and took their message to heart. I'm proud we passed this critical legislation today to give our working families a long overdue raise. Supporting a higher wage means a host of benefits for our state, including better-paying jobs, increased consumer spending and a growing economy. I applaud Governor Pritzker for his leadership. As Illinois takes this historic step, we can be assured that we are improving the lives of workers in every corner of our state, providing them an opportunity to enhance their lives and better support their families.

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