Local state lawmakers react to $15 minimum wage proposal

1 of 2

Local state senators are divided along party lines on a new bill to gradually increase the minimum wage in Illinois to $15 by 2025.

Senate Bill 1 would increase the minimum wage on an incremental schedule. It would go up to $9.25 an hour on Jan. 1, 2020, then to $10 an hour on July 1, 2020, $11 an hour on Jan. 1, 2021, and then increase it $1 an hour each subsequent year until the wage hits $15 an hour on Jan. 1, 2025.

The bill also allows smaller businesses with 50 or fewer full-time employees a tax benefit to help offset the cost of the wage increase, but it phases out in seven years. Employers with five or fewer employees can still claim the benefit for an additional year. State Sen. Pat McGuire, D-Joliet, voted for the bill.

“Fair pay for hard work is the American way,” he said. “A higher minimum wage will boost families and the Illinois economy.”

State Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris, had some reservations, citing concerns about the effect on businesses. She voted against the bill.

“The concern I have is that under this proposal, our businesses will see a detrimental impact – one that our state can’t afford,” she said. “We can’t afford to lose any more businesses, and we can’t continue to create policy after policy that hurts our employers.”

Now that the Senate passed the bill, it goes to the Democrat-controlled House for consideration.