Today, in a vote largely along party lines, the Illinois House of Representatives voted to drastically increase the state minimum wage. State Representative Tim Butler (R-Springfield) expressed concern that such a large increase would harm central Illinois.
“I think it goes without saying that we all want to see people earning more,” said Butler. “My concern is that this legislation increases the minimum wage so much in a short period of time without taking into account the impact on central Illinois. I’ve heard from non-profits, schools and small businesses across the 87th District who are very concerned and have expressed strong opposition.
“Even though most already pay above the current minimum wage, almost doubling it over the course of a few years will make it nearly impossible for most employers to keep up. Unfortunately, that means jobs get cut, small businesses close, critical services aren’t delivered or taxpayers get hit to pick up the slack. All of which only makes it that much more difficult to improve our fragile economic situation and stop of the flow of people out of Illinois.”
Senate Bill 1 proposes increasing the state minimum wage from $8.25 (already above the national rate of $7.25) to $15.00 by 2025, an 82% increase. Butler also noted that according to statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, very few hourly employees are actually earning the minimum wage and most of those earning the minimum wage are young, part-time workers. Only 1.4% of those who earn the federal minimum wage are over 25 and those earning minimum wage has fallen by nearly half since 2013. This represents one of the lowest points in history and a sign that an improving economy has driven up wages.