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