SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS — The Illinois Senate has approved increasing the state’s minimum wage to $15 over six years. The measure now moves to the House, where Democrats led by Speaker Michael Madigan still could change the proposal before it lands on Pritzker’s desk.
The Democratic-controlled Senate voted 39-18 Thursday on a largely party-line vote. The proposal would increase the $8.25-an-hour minimum wage by $1.75 next year and $1 more on each Jan. 1 until 2025.
Republicans complained the cost to employers will be too high and Illinois will lose jobs. And they say state government will pay a steep price to absorb the cost taxpayer-financed institutions and those funded by Medicaid will have to pay. Madigan has said publicly that he supports Pritzker’s effort to raise the minimum wage. “I anticipate the speaker will support the bill,” Madigan spokesman Steve Brown said.
Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford says she’s surprised to hear GOP lawmakers say they don’t want to help the working poor get off of public assistance rolls.
The bill proposes a tax credit that would help employers with 50 or fewer full-time employees offset some of the cost of raising wages. Employers would be able to claim a tax credit for 25 percent of the cost in 2020, and the credit would scale back annually, then eventually phase out.