The Illinois Senate's Executive Committee passed legislation Wednesday to raise the state's minimum wage to $11 an hour by 2019. The bill, SB 11, would also allow Chicago to maintain its plan to raise the hourly minimum wage to $13 by 2019.
"I strongly support this bill, because no one who works should ever struggle to reach the middle class or be forced to raise a child in poverty," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel in response to the vote. "Just as we have already raised the minimum wage for roughly 410,000 Chicago workers, this bill will raise the minimum wage for working families throughout Illinois and thousands of Chicago residents who work outside the city."
The bill, which passed by an 11-5 vote, would bump up the minimum wage in Illinois to $9 an hour on July 1, increasing it 75 cents from the current $8.25 hourly wage. The legislation would also put a tax credit in place for companies with less than 50 employees, but Republicans say the bill needs more pro-business provisions.
Industry is also making waves about the bill.
"Increasing the minimum wage is a job-killing proposal that would leave Illinois businesses struggling to get by in an already tough business climate," said Rob Karr, president/CEO of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association. "Businesses across the country are taking a serious hit in cities and states where the minimum wage is increased. We need sound public policy that encourages businesses to thrive in our state, grow jobs in Illinois, and not push them out of business or out-of-state."
Meanwhile, in his first State of the State address, Gov. Bruce Rauner called for an increase of the minimum wage in the state. The governor proposed a plan to bump up the minimum wage to $10 an hour over seven year's time, garnering snickers from some state legislators. The bill's sponsor, State Sen. Kimberley Lightford (D-Maywood) said she is "not interested in tying any of the governor's ideas to this bill," according to the Associated Press.
Check back with Progress Illinois for full coverage of Rauner's address and blueprint for the state.