Legislators vote to increase minimum wage, business leaders warn of consequences
Illinois legislators voted Thursday to increase the state minimum wage to $15 an hour over the next six years.
The House voted 69-41, largely along party lines though with some Democrats crossing the aisle (against), in favor of the Senate bill that will lead to the incremental increase, beginning with a $1 increase on Jan. 1 from $8.25 to $9.25.
In a statement following the vote, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said, "Today is a resounding victory for the 1.4 million Illinoisans who will soon get a hard-earned and well-deserved raise.
“After nearly a decade of delay, I applaud the House and Senate for passing a living wage with the fierce urgency this moment requires.”
Sean Garrett, president of BizPAC of Central Illinois, predicted businesses and nonprofits will be hurt by the vote.
In a statement issued to the Peoria Standard ahead of the vote, Garrett said any increase would impact job growth and opportunity, but "an increase of this magnitude would be particularly harmful."
It is, Garrett, added, an "absolute danger to Central Illinois’ economic climate."
He zeroed in on the what he called the "stark differences" between the Chicago Metro area and the rest of the state.
"Treating both the same, with an arbitrarily high minimum wage, would have detrimental effects that few have taken the time to consider," Garrett argued, adding that the burden will fall most on small businesses and nonprofit agencies.
"The unintended consequences will prove detrimental and create an economic climate that is less competitive, with these small businesses unable to compete against larger companies that can better absorb higher costs," Garrett said, adding that nonprofits will require more government funding or face the decision of whether to cut services or close completely.