* I went over this with subscribers today, so we’ll just do a roundup. Here’s the AP…
Business advocates now resigned to the likelihood that Illinois will soon adopt a $15-an-hour minimum wage urged legislators Wednesday to make it a tiered approach based on geography, arguing there are vast cost-of-living differences between Chicago and more rural areas downstate.
While Illinois’ statewide minimum wage has remained at $8.25 an hour since 2010, Chicago has jumped ahead, with the minimum wage there going to $13 this year .
Rob Karr, president and CEO of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, told the Senate Labor Committee that the nation’s third-largest city shouldn’t set the wage floor for everywhere else in the state. […]
New Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who campaigned on the issue last fall, wants to sign the proposal into law before he lays out an annual budget to the General Assembly on Feb. 23, Lightford said.
The budget address is actually scheduled for February 20th, less than three weeks from today.
* Prairie State Wire…
“We believe the market should determine wages,” [Todd Maisch, Illinois Chamber president and CEO] said. “For example, $15 an hour in the Chicago market may make sense, while $15 an hour in Cairo, Illinois, does not.”
Other marker factors also should be considered, Maisch said.
“Regional market wages should be considered along with additional options for seasonal, teen and training wages,” he said.
Teen and training wages are in the proposal they’re working on.
* Illinois News Network…
Some legislators want to know if Illinois can mandate different minimums based on geographic boundaries.
“There’s a huge discrepancy regionally about how much money is needed in order to live a higher quality of life,” said state Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora. […]
Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford, D-Maywood, will likely sponsor legislation that would increase the state’s minimum wage. She said she was open to the idea of regional minimum wages, but said there could be constitutional issues with that concept.
“It’s challenging because there are some constitutionalities that go along with a flat minimum wage,” she said. “That’s something that I know our lawyers are checking into.”
I don’t think the regional wage is gonna fly.
* Capitol News Illinois…
Lightford said rate increases would be phased in, and the $15 rate would not take effect until at least 2025, although an exact timeframe for the increase is not yet defined.
Business representatives at the committee preferred a longer-term rollout. Lobbyist Mike Noonan, representing the Illinois Restaurant Association, said his industry would be OK with a seven-year rollout — $1 each year for the first six, then 75 cents the final year.
Worker rights advocates, such as Greg Kelly of the Service Employees International Union, preferred a more timely increase. He said 41 percent of all workers in Illinois make less than $15 per hour, and more of those workers are in their 40s, 50s and 60s than are younger than 25.
Kelly added that more women than men make less than $15 per hour, and 48 percent of African Americans and 61 percent of Latinos make less than $15 per hour. He said 52 percent of those making less than $15 per hour work full time, and 15 percent of Illinois working families receive food stamps.
Chris Boyster of the Illinois Collaboration on Youth said more than 12,000 people are employed by the organization’s member agencies. Many of them are working at or near minimum wage, he said.
“These human service organizations will not be able to accommodate an increase in the minimum wage without increased financial support from the state,” he said. “Providers want to pay their workforce better. They just need the means to do so.”
The Illinois Association of Park Districts also said increasing the minimum wage would put pressure on park districts that employ teens as life guards, camp counselors and other jobs that pay the minimum wage. Likewise, the state’s nursing homes that serve large numbers of Medicaid patients would be squeezed between paying higher wages with stagnant Medicaid reimbursements, said Pat Comstock of the Health Care Council of Illinois.
Twenty-six states and the District of Columbia have a higher minimum wage than Illinois.