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$15 minimum wage bill could reach Pritzker this week

SPRINGFIELD — A vote on a $15 minimum wage in Illinois was scheduled for Thursday in the Illinois House and Democrats think it could be on Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s desk the same day.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported that it’s expected to pass with no Republican support.

From the Sun-Times:

We’ll call it on the floor [Thursday] sometime after 1:30 in the afternoon, and my expectation is the bill will pass,” House Speaker Mike Madigan said. “My expectation is that there will be no Republicans in the House voting for the bill.”

Republicans, on the other hand, said the fast-tracked advancement of the measure puts an end to a short-lived era of good feeling between the parties at the Capitol.

“This is a change of attitude since last month,” Republican House Leader Jim Durkin said. “There was all these platitudes and statements that were made about how we were going to work together and solve these problems. That is not the case today. Republicans have been shut out in negotiating in the House, and we have had no voice with the administration.”

In a near three-hour committee meeting with a large contingent of minimum wage advocates present Wednesday, the business and labor interests restated the same arguments that have driven the discussion in the past several weeks.

Democrats cited studies that concluded increases will drive economic growth and cause no job loss; Republicans questioned those studies and replied with their own numbers and testimony from business owners.

Earlier this week, the Associated Press published an analysis showing that by the time minimum wage reaches $15 in 2025, it will have lost the buying power $15 has in 2019.

From the AP:

Using state labor and federal inflation statistics, The Associated Press projected that assuming the current inflation rate of 2.1 percent each year through 2025, $15 then will be worth the equivalent of $10.46 now. So instead of an 81 percent wage increase from $8.25 to $15, after inflation, low-wage workers will be taking home only 27 percent more than they are today.

“Given the business opposition, you’d think that the state was proposing to give away bags of money and shut down every burger joint along the border,” Robert Bruno, a labor professor at the University of Illinois, said after reviewing the AP’s numbers.

UPDATE, 4:34 p.m., 2/14/2019

The Illinois House has passed the bill.

From WEEK-TV in Springfield:

“We’re taking bold and decisive action to raise the minimum wage, because for too long we have let people earn poverty wages,” said state Rep. Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago), a chief co-sponsor of the bill in the House.

The bill seeks to raise the minimum wage incrementally. The wage would go from the current $8.25 an hour to $9.25 an hour on Jan. 1, 2020. The wage would be raised to $10 an hour that July, then $1 a year every year until 2025.

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