* Hannah Meisel at the Daily Line…
After a bill to raise Illinois’ minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025 passed the Illinois Senate last week on a party-line vote, Gov. JB Pritzker — who has been pushing Democratic leaders to get the measure passed before his Budget Address next week — boasted that SB 1 is endorsed by a key business group in Illinois.
“This bill has the support of the Illinois Restaurant Association and will allow restaurant workers and restaurant owners to succeed,” Pritzker told reporters at the Capitol last week, before ticking off the other merits of the bill.
Sam Toia, president and CEO of the Illinois Restaurant Association, had indeed signed off on the bill ahead of Wednesday’s committee vote to send SB 1 to the Senate floor.
But in Springfield Monday, downstate members of the Illinois Restaurant Association told The Daily Line that they weren’t asked, and that Toia doesn’t speak for them.
And, man, are they ever mad.
* Channel 20…
Across from the Illinois Governor’s mansion, you’ll find Loukinens’ on Fourth.
The restaurant opened in October 2017, but owners Kevin and Laurie Loukinen are concerned a $15 minimum wage hike could force them to close their doors.
“If I increase minimum wage at $15 an hour, then I have to increase supervisor pay, then I have to increase manager pay, then I have to match all the payroll taxes that go with that and all the property taxes that go with that,” Laurie Loukinen said.
Laurie Loukinen said she once asked Gov. JB Pritzker to not harm her business while he was eating at her restaurant with his wife.
“He was in this very dining room and I said, ‘Just tell me you’re going to do a good job and that you’re not going to kill me as a business for the sake of Chicago,’ and he stood right here in my dining room and he said, ‘I will not do that to you,’” Laurie Loukinen said. “And I take Governor Pritzker at his word.”
You gotta wonder how the governor’s next visit to that restaurant is gonna go.
Meanwhile, the owner of Obed and Isaac’s compared her stand against the minimum wage hike to Winston Churchill during World War II. I kid you not.
* This is not to make light of their arguments. The governor has said that he would listen to all sides and points to the Illinois Restaurant Association as supporters even though some restaurant owners are up in arms about this bill. They do have a right to be upset. And a regionalized system does make some sense…
The news conference was organized by the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, which is pressing lawmakers to enact a tiered minimum wage. Its proposal would have a $15 wage in Chicago, while the suburbs surrounding Chicago would have a $13 wage and the rest of the state would have an $11 minimum wage by 2025.
The differences are meant to reflect that it’s cheaper to live outside of Chicago and that other areas of the state do not have the same economic activity as Chicago. The states of Oregon and New York use a tiered approach, paying a higher minimum wage in a major urban area and lower wages in less-populated areas.
Frankly, though, if I was a Downstate worker making minimum wage, I’d be awfully upset that Chicagoans were paid more by law to do the exact same job for the exact same employer. A regionalized minimum wage would literally codify the alleged Chicago advantage that Downstaters so often complain about.
“Governor Pritzker is misleading the people of Illinois about his minimum wage plan by falsely claiming it’s the product of compromise and Republican input, even though no Republicans support it. If Pritzker thinks it’s a ‘Republican idea’ to phase in the wage hike over six years as opposed to three or enact insufficient tax credits for small business, he’s wrong. Pritzker pledged to listen to Republicans and compromise, but it turns out those were just empty, meaningless words.” - Illinois Republican Party Spokesman Aaron DeGroot
*** UPDATE *** It’s on a rail…