IL Gov. Pritzker signs minimum wage increase legislation

IL Gov. Pritzker signs minimum wage increase legislation
The $15 per hour minimum wage will be phased in over the next six years. (Source: JB Pritzker, Facebook)

SPRINGFIELD, IL (KFVS) - Governor JB Pritzker signed legislation on Tuesday, Feb. 19 making Illinois the first state in the midwest to phase in a $15 minimum wage over the next six years.

IL minimum wage reaction

Under the new law, the minimum wage will raise from $8.25 to $9.25 an hour starting Jan. 1, 2020, and it will jump again to $10 on July 1, 2020.

It will then increase by $1 each year until 2025.

Currently there are an estimated 1.4 million Illinois residents making less than $15 an hour.

Illinois last increased its minimum wage in 2010.

It’s now one of the first states to approve a wage hike to $15 per hour, joining California, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York.

According to the governor’s office, the legislation also provides small businesses and non-profits with a tax credit.

Governor Pritzker calls the wage hike a major victory. It was one of his top campaign promises.

‪It’s official: Illinois is the first state in the Midwest to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour over the next six...

Posted by Governor JB Pritzker on Tuesday, February 19, 2019
Ladies and gentlemen, today is a great day for Illinois’ working families. And it has been a long time coming. It’s been 9 long years since workers got a raise. And even 9 years ago, the raise amounted to 25 cents an hour.
Gov. JB Pritzker

But Illinois GOP Party Chair Tim Schneider released a statement on Tuesday saying the wage hike could negatively hurt Illinois:

“This is only the beginning of J.B. Pritzker’s war on taxpayers and small business. Nearly doubling the minimum wage will destroy entry-level jobs, raise prices for consumers, and bust budgets at every level of government. Pritzker pledged to govern differently and listen to all parties and stakeholders, but those turned out to meaningless words.”
Tim Schneider

In southern Illinois, several business owners and Illinois Chambers of Commerce voiced concerns over the increase.

However, Scott Thorne, the owner of Castle Perilous Games and Books in Carbondale, Illinois says there will be enough time for the market to adjust.

Thorne employs 6 people at his store, and says he always starts new employees off at more than minimum wage.

He hopes the statewide increase will make for better employees.

“If you feel like you can get more productivity or benefit out of your employees you pay them more,” Thorne said. "By paying higher wages, you avoid having turn over, and with the cost you have of going out and finding new employees and then training them, there’s a cost to that.

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