The Speaker says no vote for the statewide minimum wage bill but it will be considered in the new year. In the meantime, the Chicago City Council approved moving to a $13.00 minimum wage in Chicago. See story from today’s State Journal Register in the Capitol.
New statewide minimum wage floated; vote this week unlikely
By Doug Finke
A new plan to raise the state’s minimum wage to $11 an hour by 2019 is being proposed in the General Assembly.
But House Speaker Michael Madigan’s spokesman said late Tuesday that Madigan does not plan to call a vote on the proposal this legislative session.
Steve Brown said the Chicago Democrat felt “complications of the last few days made it unlikely a bill could be passed during this General Assembly.”
The decision likely means the wage hike issue will be put on hold until next year.
Sen. Kimberly Lightford, D-Maywood, said earlier Tuesday that she is working on the plan that would raise the wage gradually over a five-year period and also place controls on how high the city of Chicago could raise its minimum wage.
The Chicago City Council voted Tuesday to raise the minimum wage there to $13 an hour by 2019 and then index further increases to inflation.
“Our goal is to have more of a unified wage increase across the state,” said Lightford, a leading proponent of raising the minimum wage. “We want to make sure the city doesn’t get so far ahead of the state.”
Two weeks ago, Lightford proposed raising the state’s minimum wage from the current $8.25 an hour to $11 an hour by 2017. The federal minimum wage is set at $7.25 an hour.
Under her revised plan, the state wage would increase to $9 an hour beginning July 1, 2015. It would then increase by 50 cents on July 1 of each succeeding year until it hit $11 an hour on July 1, 2019.
Lightford said the slower phase-in of the wage hike was done in “consideration of some of our colleagues who live on the borders. A phase-in would help their areas out more.”
The revised bill would allow Chicago to keep its $13-an-hour minimum wage, but it would prohibit the city from indexing further increases to inflation. Cities outside of Chicago could not raise their minimum wages beyond the statewide rate.
Lightford said her plan will also include tax incentives for restaurants and retailers who have resisted an increase in the minimum wage.
Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner said Tuesday he still wants any increase in the minimum wage tied to business incentives such as changes to workers’ compensation programs, changes to liability lawsuits and an overhaul of the state tax code.
It is unclear if the proposal has the support to pass the General Assembly. Lightford said she believes she has the votes in the Senate to pass it and that the plan is gaining support in the House. However, the House has already announced it will leave Springfield Wednesday, a day earlier than originally scheduled.
The wage increase would leave Illinois with a higher minimum wage than surrounding states. Indiana, Wisconsin and Iowa all peg their minimum wage to the $7.25 federal rate. Missouri’s minimum wage is scheduled to increase to $7.65 an hour Jan. 1.