* Subscribers know more details. Here’s the Tribune’s take on the minimum wage push…
Now, with Democrats in control of the governor’s mansion and both the Illinois House and Senate, they are charging ahead on an issue that’s popular with many of their supporters. But Pritzker could risk alienating business interests and Republican lawmakers in his first big legislative effort, shortly after sounding bipartisan tones when he was sworn in last month.
State Sen. Kimberly Lightford, a Maywood Democrat who has tried to raise the minimum wage before, said she hopes to introduce her new proposal as early as Tuesday. That timetable could give Pritzker a chance to sign a minimum wage increase into law before delivering his first budget proposal to lawmakers on Feb. 20, she said. […]
Her goal is to get the state’s minimum wage to $15, more than double the federal minimum wage of $7.25 and equal to the level it will reach in California in 2022 and in Massachusetts the following year. As of Monday, specifics were still being worked out, and debate among lawmakers could further change any proposal. Up for discussion is how many years it should take to boost the wage to $15, whether employers should continue being allowed to pay some teenage workers less and how to structure tax credits to help small businesses offset rising payroll costs. […]
Other business groups are asking for bigger changes. Retail leaders want Illinois to take into account the fact that it costs more to live in the Chicago area than it does Downstate. For example, the rate could be $15 in Chicago and Cook County, $13 in the collar counties and $11 in the rest of the state, Illinois Retail Merchants Association President and CEO Rob Karr said. […]
“There is a difference between being heard and being listened to,” Karr said.
Groups representing retailers, manufacturers, gas stations and others have accepted that there will be an increase from the current minimum of $8.25, said Mark Grant, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business. They’re now lobbying to prolong the phase-in and limit the $15 amount to Chicago and perhaps the collar counties, arguing that the cost of living is lower downstate.
New York and Oregon have higher minimum wages for employers in major cities. In California and Massachusetts, the $15 minimum wage applies across the state, as it will in New Jersey, which last week passed legislation guaranteeing a $15 minimum wage.
SEIU Healthcare Political Director Erica Bland-Durosinmi wants the $15 amount to take effect across the state, and quickly, saying it will help workers from Chicago to Danville pay for rent and groceries.
“This fight is a fight we have been fighting for years,” she said. “We want money in folks’ pockets as soon as possible.”
* How has minimum wage hike worked out elsewhere?: Andrew Farnitano helped lead the campaign to raise Massachusetts’ minimum wage — twice. The first time was in 2014, when his organization, RaiseUp Massachusetts, found success in legislation that increased the wage from $8 to $11 within three years. Immediately after, Farnitano’s organization began campaigning for an increase to $15 an hour, succeeding in June 2018. Farnitano says what happened after the first round of raises was the opposite of what many people and groups, especially business associations, expected. “As the minimum wage went up, we saw massive job growth, a stronger economy, and the biggest drops in unemployment in the communities where the most people, some 30 or 40 percent of workers, benefited from the increase,” Farnitano said.
* Q-C Chamber opposes minimum wage hike in Illinois: According to Rumler, the negative impact would be exacerbated in regions like the Quad Cities that share state borders where businesses could easily move a few miles and not be subject to Illinois’ proposed $15 minimum wage.
* New Jersey becomes 4th state to approve $15 hourly wage