Despite staunch opposition from State Sen. Jil Tracy (R-Quincy), a Democrat plan to increase the minimum wage was called for a vote this week. Opponents argue the plan neglects small businesses and fails to provide job protections for workers—while ignoring the disparity between Chicago and western Illinois.
“Employers are leaving in droves seeking less regulation and fewer taxes in our neighboring states. Adding yet another budgetary and regulative layer to business will only fuel that outmigration,” said Tracy. “This legislation is a one-size-fits-all package that only suits Chicago and is completely blind to the rest of the state. Our small businesses, nonprofits, hospitals and schools can’t afford this. It will hurt their ability to retain staff, and provide services. We want working families to have jobs that pay well and a good quality of life for their families, but the plan that passed the Senate may have them facing fewer job opportunities, higher consumer costs, and other ramifications we can’t even fully understand yet.”
The Democrat plan passed by the Senate on Feb. 7 would incrementally raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour over the next six years and presents far-reaching implications for employers across the board, including an increase in annual costs for small businesses and retailers, state agencies, school districts, human service providers and hospitals.
Additionally, a study from North Carolina State University noted that a major minimum wage increase could be particularly harmful for agriculture. They report that even just a 10-percent increase in the minimum wage for agricultural workers would result in a long-run decline of 6.5 percent in agricultural productivity.
Senate Bill 1 will now move to the House of Representatives for consideration. Tracy urges her colleagues in the House to reject this legislation which would have wide-spread consequences for the state.