Pritzker applauds state Senate's passage of minimum wage bill
Gov. J.B. Pritzker applauded the state Senate's passage of a bill that if made into law would raise Illinois's minimum wage to $15 per hour in time.
"The state Senate made it clear," Pritzker said at a press conference Thursday afternoon. "This is a long time coming. Working families have not had a raise since July 2010, and that raise was only 25 cents. We're on the cusp of bringing a $15 minimum wage to Illinois.
"We will take this into consideration when working on a balanced budget," Pritzker said. "This was a major win. I urge the House of Representatives to take up this legislation."
"This is an opportunity to let the hard-working people know we hear them and see them," State Sen. Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood), who sponsored the bill in the Senate, said at the press conference. "They can now live a fair and honest lifestyle."
House Rep. Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago), who is sponsoring the bill in the House, said he was thrilled with the Senate vote.
"What we saw today is members across Illinois understanding workers in their districts need a raise," Guzzardi said at the press conference. "We are ready to act. I feel confident we will pass it as the Senate passed it, with no changes."
Pritzker said while some are still opposed to the wage hike, he believes people deserve a raise.
"We're also working on creating jobs to also help wages go up," Pritzker said. "We intend to get people making more than the minimum wage—that’s the goal in the end."
The bill raises the minimum wage to $15 and offers a tax credit to employers with fewer than 50 full-time employees to help offset the cost of raising wages, according to Senate Bill 1.
Employers will need to increase the minimum wage every six months from Jan. 1, 2020 until Jan. 1, 2025 in $1 increments and one $0.75 increment until the minimum wage goes from $8.25 to $15 for employees over the age of 18, according to the bill.
Teenagers will receive wage increases during the same time frame to raise their salaries from $7.75 per hour to $13 per hour by 2025, according to the bill.