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Elections have consequences

Monday, Feb 11, 2019

* 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.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

31 Comments
  1. - Fax Machine - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 10:44 am:

    Also it was punted on in 2014 because the Speaker wanted an advisory referendum, so this is 5 years late.


  2. - wordslinger - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 10:47 am:

    –What’s the rush?–

    Narrator: Illinois’ minimum wage has been $8.25 for eight years. Any increase would not go into effect until Jan. 1, 2020.

    The Daily Herald does a good job on the math and the national scene here.

    https://www.dailyherald.com/news/20181126/what-pritzkers-minimum-wage-increase-plan-could-mean-for-the-suburbs


  3. - Steve - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 10:50 am:

    Elections really do have consequences. The business community can’t pretend that the $15 minimum wage wasn’t an issue in the campaign. It was. It too late now. Yeah, many small businesses might be hurt. Yeah, those without a work history might be hurt. A $15 minimum wage means it’s illegal to work for $25,000 a year even if you want to .


  4. - PJ - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 10:53 am:

    The business groups have been heard on this for several years. And, surprise: what they want is for it is:

    A. not to exist
    B. to take longer to exist
    C. to have so many exemptions that it doesn’t practically exist

    I really don’t know how much more “engagement with the business community” is possible on this bill.


  5. - RNUG - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 10:54 am:

    Honeymoons and political capital only lady so long. You use it while you can …


  6. - Montrose - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 10:54 am:

    “A $15 minimum wage means it’s illegal to work for $25,000 a year even if you want to.”

    The “you are taking away individual freedom” angle is cute. I’m shocked we haven’t seen legions of low-wage workers try to stop the minimum wage hike from going into effect based on this argument.


  7. - Huh? - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 10:55 am:

    “A $15 minimum wage means it’s illegal to work for $25,000 a year even if you want to .”

    The minimum wage law has graduated increases. $25K works out to be a hair less than $12/hour which won’t kick in for a few years. So it will be legal to earn less than $25k for a few years.


  8. - LXB - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 10:58 am:

    If anyone’s so desperate to work for only $25K/year, I guess they could only work part-time.


  9. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 10:59 am:

    When Pritzker won and the General Assembly went 74/40 for the Democracts, the idea that voters may punish Dems for this is a bit premature, and also not an inoculation to do… “whatever”.

    Political capital being used here by Pritzker abd the Dems, this early, is a smart calculation, allowing this to sink in, if/when it passes and is signed, for a number of years, but a reaping of “action” that can be pointed to as actual governing.


  10. - Donnie Elgin - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 11:02 am:

    “partly to get it out of the way before”.. the next election cycle begins in earnest


  11. - Henry Francis - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 11:02 am:

    $25k annually.

    To put that in context, I recall a guy who “worked” the last 4 years without taking a salary. Yet 1 year he made over $90,000,000 while not working. Simply letting his money and investments do the work for him.

    That guy made $25k every 150 minutes. Not working.


  12. - lakeside - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 11:05 am:

    People working 40 hours a week make $330 a week at min wage. Imagine working full time without any days off/vacation and trying to live your life on just over 17k a year.

    And then support the bill.


  13. - Arsenal - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 11:05 am:

    ==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==

    66% of the Senate voted for the bill. I’m not sure why it’s necessary to get more compromises.


  14. - Rich Miller - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 11:06 am:

    ===he would seek compromise before===

    Technically, he did. Tip credit is in the bill to get restaurants on board.


  15. - Anonymous - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 11:09 am:

    From the article: $380 million in new state revenues, $348 million in new local government revenues, $87 million saved from people getting off the social safety net. Plus the article points out many employers are already paying $11 and more now, because they benefit from less turn over and less stressed workers.


  16. - Michelle Flaherty - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 11:16 am:

    A better question would be: Where’s the SJR edit board been the last few years?

    What’s the rush?
    C’mon. What’s taken so long?

    Just because the legislative calendar resets doesn’t mean everyone’s knowledge and recent history are wiped out.


  17. - Rich Miller - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 11:17 am:

    ===Just because the legislative calendar resets doesn’t mean everyone’s knowledge and recent history are wiped out. ===

    Exactly. Same with weed.


  18. - A 400lb. Guy on a bed - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 11:18 am:

    =The SJ-R ignores recent history=

    Shocker!


  19. - Anonymous - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 11:28 am:

    I’d love to see the payroll records from legislators’ district offices. How many of them are paying a “living wage” currently or a salary that is below $31,000.


  20. - Montrose - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 11:33 am:

    Has the business community ever backed a minimum wage hike? That’s a sincere question. My hunch is no and the whole “slow down” argument is simply trying to delay something they will always be opposed to.

    Pritzker did not promise to only support agreed legislation. So far, he has shown he is good at counting to 30 and 60. That’s a lot more important than making sure folks that will never support you are on board.


  21. - MG85 - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 11:38 am:

    I have always found it interesting that those who ask for more time and “what’s the rush” are the same ones who are not without the rights, not without the power, and not without access.

    If your prevailing argument is “what’s the rush” then you don’t have an argument. You have a losing opinion without substantial facts to back up your claims and you know it.


  22. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 11:41 am:

    Democrats in my opinion have more to worry about from their own voters rather than Republicans. Turnout was pretty good in 2018. There are many more Democratic than Republican voters in Illinois. Democrats need to enact what their voters want. It’s past time for a minimum wage hike, for many voters.


  23. - The Dude Abides - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 11:56 am:

    It’s not lost on me that the SJR endorsed Rauner for a second term so it’s not surprising that they oppose a minimum wage increase. Their guy got beat by a landslide of historic proportions so now the SJR preaches compromise but not so much when their guy was Governor.


  24. - Anonymous - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 12:11 pm:

    Not sure how anyone missed that this would happen? He campaigned on it, he promised it during his transition now it’s his first agenda item.
    The speed at which it happens? Eh, who cares? Business got the concessions they were going to get. They all were against JB and the Dems anyway. Spent tons of money while this message was being played and still lost.

    Maybe we should be more like Mississippi and Louisiana and have no minimum wage and high poverty but lots of Red votes? Btw both of those states are 2 of the highest who rely on the Fed to fund their annual budgets.


  25. - Oversight - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 12:22 pm:

    It looks like the a large amount of people will be over income limits for social service programs, which are based on Federal Poverty Limits (FPL). While the intentions may be help get people off such programs, the results could be a net loss for the individual. Here’s more income, by the way you don’t qualify for Medicaid, Snap, or Childcare Assistance anymore.


  26. - wordslinger - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 12:38 pm:

    –Here’s more income, by the way you don’t qualify for Medicaid, Snap, or Childcare Assistance anymore.–

    You say that like it’s a bad thing.

    Don’t you want people to earn enough to get off public assistance?


  27. - Rich Miller - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 12:51 pm:

    What word said.


  28. - don the legend - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 12:59 pm:

    What Word said but…. When your new minimum income just barely makes you ineligible for a host of benefits then you are working for just a few dollars. You could get the assistance from the programs without busting your hump for a few dollars a week.

    I disagree as work often leads to better paying work but it is a point of view that is taken by some.


  29. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 1:04 pm:

    It is quite confusing, the argument to keep wages lower… to keep people on public assistance, in any form.

    The “Republican” thinking was to keep as many off any type of government assistance, now the “Republican” thought is to keep the minimum wage low, as the number of possible people getting assistance “may” be reduced by sheer math.

    It’s confusing to both fiscal thought and social service strains.

    I’d like to know what the post Rauner GOP wants in policy that makes sense to any GOP thoughts going forward.


  30. - Scribe - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 1:41 pm:

    Time will tell. I hope it works out for everyone. Many years ago when companies thought their employees were making too much money, they started shipping jobs overseas and using automation. I’m not saying $15 is too much, but that is why companies have accountants.


  31. - Norseman - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 2:41 pm:

    === Where’s the SJR edit board been the last few years? ===

    With it’s philosophical head in the sand. Or should I say back in the 1970s.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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