Illinois Senate passes $15 minimum wage bill; heads to House

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The Illinois Senate voted to pass a bill that would raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2025 on Thursday.

The Senate voted 39-18 to approve Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s minimum wage plan. Lawmakers will now send the bill to the Illinois House of Representatives. 

Sen. Kim Lightford (D-Illinois) carried SB 1 to the Senate. It will raise the minimum wage from the current $8.25 an hour gradually over the next few years. Specifically, the bill calls for a $1 hourly pay hike at the beginning of 2020, followed by a 75-cent increase to $10 on July 1, 2020. After that, the wage would increase $1 each Jan. 1 until 2025.

A Senate committee approved the proposal on Wednesday. 

“Today, the state Senate made it clear that working families in Illinois deserve a raise, and they’re going to get one,” Gov. Pritzker said. “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.”

Sen. Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) said the legislation would take a massive toll on businesses.

“This isn’t about whether or not the minimum wage should be increased, it’s about how much, how fast, and what we can do to minimize the loss of jobs, especially downstate,” said Barickman. “Unfortunately this legislation doesn’t really do much of anything on any of those fronts.”

The Illinois Chamber Commerce opposed the vote.

“Increasing the minimum wage by 82 percent over the next five years would harm small businesses, kill jobs and eliminate opportunities for the workers who need them the most,” said President and CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce Todd Maisch.

“We recognize an increase may very well become law. However, regional market wages should be considered, along with additional options for seasonal and training wages and preemption of local governments further increasing the new wage. We hope legislators will work with the business community to implement practical solutions that mitigate the impact on small businesses.”

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