BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WEEK) — The McLean County Chamber of Commerce is warning a hike in the minimum wage could force small businesses in the region to cut jobs or hours to make up for higher labor costs.
State Sen. Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood) proposed raising the Illinois minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025 in a Senate committee hearing last week. Currently, the Illinois minimum wage sits at $8.25 an hour.
“I am looking at our working families with the damage the past four years have done still in mind,” Lightford said in a statement. “They have waited for a raise for much too long, and it is time for people working full time to bring home a paycheck that allows them to provide for themselves and their families.”
However, the Chamber warns that a large increase in the minimum wage would force businesses across state lines. With the exception of Missouri, every state surrounding Illinois maintains the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.
The McLean County Chamber said it would advocate for a small business tax credit, mitigating some of the blow of a higher minimum wage for small businesses. The Chamber also said it backs a lower “training wage” for younger and less experienced workers.
The Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce said the minimum wage proposal also remains their first legislative priority.
Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker has made raising the Illinois minimum wage a top legislative priority for his first year in office.