Gov. J.B. Pritzker, left, with former President Barack Obama in September | twitter.com/JBPritzker
The Illinois Republican Party is calling out Gov. J.B. Pritzker on his claim that he compromised with GOP lawmakers to raise the state's minimum wage, a claim the GOP said this week is not true.
"Governor Pritzker is misleading the people of Illinois about his minimum wage plan by falsely claiming it's the product of compromise and Republican input, even though no Republicans support it," Illinois Republican Party spokesman Aaron DeGroot said in a press release issued Wednesday. "If Pritzker thinks it’s a 'Republican idea' to phase in the wage hike over six years as opposed to three or enact insufficient tax credits for small business, he's wrong."
Pritzker has ignored Republicans' concerns about what they say would be adverse effects of an increased minimum wage on business, workers and the state, DeGroot said.
Illinois Republican Party spokesman Aaron DeGroot
"Pritzker pledged to listen to Republicans and compromise, but it turns out those were just empty, meaningless words," he said.
Last week, the Illinois Senate voted 38 to 18, largely along party lines, to pass a bill to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour over six years. A similar bill sponsored by Illinois state Sen. Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood), which also would raise the minimum wage but would offer a tax credit to employers with 50 or fewer full-time employees, remains in the Labor & Commerce Committee.
The House has taken up the minimum wage increase while considering changes, including a tiered minimum wage based on region, that could send the bill back to the Senate.
Pritzker claimed during a press conference Tuesday that the minimum wage legislation passed by the Senate was a compromise that included input from Republicans.
"We brought all the parties together, including Republicans, and we listened to them and included many of their ideas in [the minimum wage legislation]," Pritzker said during the press conference. "There were people who wanted a three-year ramp to $15. It’s six years. That’s quite the compromise."
Pritzker claimed, "We listened to all parties and made sure we had a bill that is a compromise of interests."
That was not true in the bill passed by the Senate, according to the state Republican Party's press release.
"Republican State Senators have suggested the minimum wage rate vary based on geographic region, cost of living and other factors, but Pritzker has refused to incorporate those concerns," the press release said. "Republicans have also warned of the negative impacts employers, nursing homes, non-profits, colleges, local units of government and others will face, yet Pritzker's only response has been that his budget will address those some or all of those issues."