Illinois gov says he'll sign bill raising minimum wage to $15

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) on Thursday vowed to sign a bill passed by the state legislature earlier in the day raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2025.

Pritzker announced his support for the bill after the state House passed the measure in a 69-47-1 vote, The Chicago Sun Times reported. The state Senate approved the bill earlier this month. 

“Today is resounding victory for the 1.4 million Illinoisans who will soon get a hard-earned and well-deserved raise,” Pritzker said. “After nearly a decade of delay, I applaud the House and Senate for passing a living wage with the fierce urgency this moment requires.”

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The bill raises the minimum wage incrementally over the next six years. The wage would go from the current $8.25 an hour to $9.25 an hour on Jan. 1, 2020. The wage would be raised to $10 an hour that July, then $1 a year every year until 2025.

Pritzker said the raise increase will add $6,300 a year to the pockets of a quarter of Illinois’s workforce.

Some Republicans opposed the legislation, arguing that it will make the cost of minimum wage too high for employers to pay.

GOP lawmakers pointed to a study from the National Federation of Independent Businesses which found that Illinois would see 93,000 jobs lost to the increase.

But state Rep. Will Guzzardi (D), the bill’s sponsor in the House, said data shows there is no impact on job losses when minimum wage increases are incremental.

“The only way to stop being poor is to have more money,” Guzzardi said. “And that’s what this legislation is going to do. The working poor in our state are going to have more money. We will treat their labor with the dignity and respect it deserves, and we will allow them to provide a better standard of living for themselves and their families.”

GOP lawmakers and some business groups also requested that a lower minimum wage be implemented downstate, where the cost of living is lower, but the Democratic-controlled legislature made the bill apply statewide.

A majority of respondents in a Hill-HarrisX poll released last month support increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.

The federal minimum wage has remained at $7.25 an hour since 2009, but Democrats in Congress rolled out a proposal last month to raise it to $15 per hour by 2024.