Minimum Wage Increase Headed to Pritzker; Brady, Sommer Vote No | WGLT

Minimum Wage Increase Headed to Pritzker; Brady, Sommer Vote No

Feb 14, 2019

A $15-an-hour minimum wage is headed to Gov. J.B. Pritzker after the House approved the six-year plan Thursday.

The 69-41 vote in the House almost guarantees it will become law. Several Central Illinois Republicans voted against the bill, including state Reps. Dan Brady of Bloomington, Keith Sommer of Morton, and Dan Caulkins of Decatur.

Pritzker, a Democrat, has pledged to sign it before Wednesday. That's when he unveils his first annual budget plan. He stood on the House floor during the roll call with the bill's sponsor, state Rep. Will Guzzardi of Chicago.

"Today is resounding victory for the 1.4 million Illinoisans who will soon get a hard-earned and well-deserved raise," Pritzker said in a statement. "After nearly a decade of delay, I applaud the House and Senate for passing a living wage with the fierce urgency this moment requires."

The measure would increase the state's $8.25 minimum wage to $9.25 on Jan. 1 and $10 on July 1, 2020. It then would increase $1 each Jan. 1 until 2025.

Republicans complained the increase is too steep and happens too fast. They say businesses will raise prices and cut jobs or even close.

Brady said "sometimes the most well-intentioned legislation has unintended consequences."

"This is one of those bills," he said. "Helping workers take home more pay to support themselves and their families is a goal we can all applaud, but dramatically increasing the minimum wage will actually hurt more than it helps. In states and cities where this has been adopted, small businesses have been forced to cut worker hours, or eliminate some jobs altogether.

"We should be focusing instead on reducing workers’ tax burden to put more money in their pockets, and helping businesses create more and better-paying jobs in our communities," Brady said.

Business groups want a tiered minimum wage with lower base levels in parts of the state with lower costs of living.

"On behalf of the retail community, we are disappointed that a readily achievable compromise was not adopted on such an important matter," Rob Karr, president and CEO of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, said in a statement. "We are hopeful that the failure to embrace genuine and achievable compromise on this legislation is not an indication of further things to come."

The bill is SB1.

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