Business groups, Republicans worried about downstate impact of higher minimum wage

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WEEK) — Business groups across Illinois are calling for compromise on a minimum wage hike in Illinois, especially outside the Chicago area.

“We are disappointed the Senate did not take the time to address ways to lessen the impact of an unprecedented wage hike, particularly on suburban and downstate employers. We will continue to seek a compromise in the House, and we urge legislators to not rush this issue as they consider the implications this will have on employers and employees in their communities,” said Rob Karr, president & CEO of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association.

“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,” said Todd Maisch, president and CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce. “We hope legislators will work with the business community to implement practical solutions that mitigate the impact on small businesses.”

The Illinois Senate voted 39-18 to pass a statewide minimum wage hike. The bill would gradually increase the minimum wage from the current $8.25 an hour to $15 an hour by 2025.

“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 state Sen. Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington). “Unfortunately this legislation doesn’t really do much of anything on any of those fronts.”

Barickman said several schools and social service agencies in his district tell him they will likely have to lay off employees if the bill is passed into law.

Proponents of the minimum wage increase say the bill will impact 1.4 million Illinois workers, lifting 212,000 working people out of poverty.


Tim Shelley

Tim Shelley

Social Media & Digital Content Manager
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