SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate quickly passed SB 1 Thursday – a measure that would hike Illinois' minimum wage to $15 from its current $8.25 an hour. The measure passed the Illinois Senate along party lines – Democrats "yes," Republicans "no."
Within minutes of the passage, Democrat Governor JB Pritzker issued a statement confirming his support for the measure – with no adaptations to regional cost of living as some business groups asked the lawmakers consider adding to the bill.
"I’m pleased that the interests of communities across this state are represented in this bill. Workers in East St. Louis and Peoria, doing the same job, deserve to be paid the same wage as workers in Chicago," Pritzker said. "I also want to be very clear that my administration will propose a balanced budget for the state – taking into account the effect of the new minimum wage."
Senator John Barickman (R-Bloomington) voiced his disapproval.
“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 legislation, introduced hours before the vote was taken, would raise the state’s minimum wage from $8.25 to $15 dollars per hour, Barickman said in a statement. The change is expected to take a massive toll on businesses, non-profits, and government agencies as well. Estimates placed the cost of the increase at over $1 billion for direct state employees. Universities would face tens of millions in new costs with the potential for thousands of student employee layoffs. According to several schools, the hike will likely result in layoffs for teachers’ aids and other positions that will negatively affect in-classroom learning and/or create pressure to raise property taxes. In addition, a number of social service providers have said they may be forced to lay off staff or cut services.
Rockford's State Senator Dave Syverson echoed Barickman's concerns.
According to the Pritzker Administration, a 15 dollar minimum wage increase will add over 1 billion dollars to the annual state payroll. Meanwhile, the nursing home industry will see a massive cost-impact as high as 1.5 billion dollars, Syverson said in a statement. The results of this increase will also impact property taxpayers and result in a large numbers of layoffs. Costs to local school districts are estimated to be in the millions, which could result in property tax increases. Rockford Park District is also estimating a $1 million impact and is anticipating an adverse effect on their summer help programs.
“We have to look beyond the surface to the lasting consequences of this measure. The reality of a minimum wage hike will include tax increases, insurance and care rate spikes and the loss of entry level jobs,” said Syverson. “This big of an increase is wishful thinking that overlooks the unintended consequences that will be felt by taxpayers, students and businesses across the state.”
SB 1 is scheduled to be heard before the Labor & Commerce Committee Hearing Feb 13 2019 at 2:00PM in the Capitol Building Room 114. The Senate roll call was as follows: