Despite business owner concerns, a minimum wage increase bill passed the Illinois Senate this week. If it passes the House and is signed into law, Illinois’ $8.25 minimum wage would rise to $15 by 2025.
State Sen. Jason Barickman voted against the bill.
Speaking on GLT’s Sound Ideas, Barickman said it’s not just business owners who will pay up. The minimum wage price tag will have all employers footing the bill.
“Some of them don't have the ability to simply raise their prices. Whether it's the university, you know, maybe they do a tuition hike. If it's a not-for-profit what it usually means is that you're going to cut services or lay off some of the people that you currently employ,” Barickman said. “And if you're a K-12 system ... some of them are going to see all of that new money spent on this new unfunded mandate.”
The Bloomington Republican said he hopes some “reasonably minded” House Democrats will change the bill from a one size fits all approach to a regional-based rate.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker rallied Democratic legislators ahead of the vote, calling the measure a necessary campaign promise. Democrats turned out and passed the bill with no Republican votes.
Pritzker sits at the head of a Democratic-majority legislature. But in his first address as governor he promised to work across party lines for the betterment of the state.
Barickman said despite those promises, the passage of the Senate minimum wage bill was Pritzker’s first step away from bipartisanship.
“This one, though, here it is. This is the first one where the rubber hits the road. We take a vote on it. And what he demonstrated is as much as he had said he wants to operate in a bipartisan fashion, he in no way embraced that here,” Barickman said.
Barickman said he hopes this is not how negotiations continue over the spring legislative session.
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