* This SJ-R editorial ignores some recent history…
What’s the rush?
That’s the question we have after a measure to increase the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour over the next six years zoomed out of the Illinois Senate in less than two days. The distressing answer appears to be that new Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker is putting politics above policy on a serious issue that has huge implications for the state’s economy. […]
Given how heavily Pritzker campaigned on raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, it was expected that a proposal to provide a bump would be brought up this legislative session. But the speed at which it has flown through the Senate — with the promise to do the same in the House this week — is troublesome. Business leaders say they have concerns about the proposal and ideas they want to be considered, but aren’t being heard. It’s disappointing that Pritzker — who wants this approved by the time he gives his first budget address Feb. 20 — is pushing for his first major legislative win at the cost of breaking his vow that he would seek compromise before decisions with far-reaching implications are made.
The legislative language for the pay increase was introduced Wednesday and the Senate voted on the measure the next day. Key details are always missed when any legislation is rushed. What repercussions are being overlooked here, and how much will those consequences cost taxpayers when it’s discovered? […]
Policy and politics are always intertwined at the state Capitol. Unfortunately for Illinois, the governor and Democratic leaders are pushing the political in their rush to hastily approve this bill.
A nearly identical bill passed both the House and Senate in 2017 only to be vetoed by the governor. We’re going to see a lot more of those vetoed bills come up for debate this session.
We’ve also had the benefit of watching Chicago’s minimum wage increases take effect and their impact on lower income neighborhoods.
…Adding… A commenter makes a good point…
Also it was punted on in 2014 because the Speaker wanted an advisory referendum, so this is 5 years late.
…Adding… Another good point in comments…
Just because the legislative calendar resets doesn’t mean everyone’s knowledge and recent history are wiped out.
So, it’s not like this isn’t some foreign concept.
* But, yeah, this was most definitely put on a fast track, partly because it was doable early on (because it had passed before) and partly to get it out of the way before the budget address, after which spring sessions tend to go in a million different directions (I’ve talked about other reasons with subscribers).
This early push has been smart politics by the governor. Whether it’s smart policy or not will be known once the raises start to kick in. But he campaigned incessantly on a $15 an hour minimum wage and, as the headline states, elections have consequences, particularly when you have a friendly General Assembly to work with.