Illinois State Senate Passes Massive Minimum Wage Increase

The Illinois State Senate has passed a bill which will increase the state’s minimum wage to $11 by 2019. The current minimum wage rate for the state is $8.25 and is scheduled to increase to $9 on July 1. Reportedly, the vote was almost unanimous in the state senate.

According to the Washington Times, the bill known as SB11 passed with an 11-5 vote in the Senate executive committee on Wednesday. Senator Kimberly Lightford, creator of the bill, has made statements which express a need for this wage increase not only in the state of Illinois, but throughout out the United States.

“There’s a need across this country to help the working poor. As long as they’re giving up everything trying to do the best for their families, we should not keep them heavily relying on government assistance, and that’s exactly what we’re doing by finding every excuse we can to not give them fair, livable wages.”

Though the bill was popular in the state senate, concern has arisen that Lightford’s victory was to slight the governor, Bruce Rauner. Reportedly, Rauner mentioned the desire to work beside Democrats for a job reform initative that would do the very thing that Sen. Lightford’s bill has accomplished. The governor announced these plans in his State of the States Address on the same day the bill passed.

Contrary to what fellow Republicans have said in Bruce Rauner’s defense and against Kimberly Lightford, the governor is happy with Lightford’s success in the senate and feels that it is an overall triumph for the state of Illinois. He expressed this on his Twitter feed.

Also in support of Sen. Lightford is the mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emmanuel. The bill will also effect the already rising minimum wage for the city of Chicago, making it the highest minimum wage in the state. Just last year, The Chicago City Council passed an ordinance to increase the city’s minimum wage to $13.

Bill SB11 also proposes a tax credit for companies that have less than 50 workers. Overall, the bill’s agenda in similar to that of Gov. Rauner who stated that he planned to make Illinois more “business friendly.” However, Democrat Kimberly Lightford has expressed a disinterest in the governor’s ideas, stating, she’s “not interested in tying any of the governor’s ideas to this bill.”

Colleagues of Sen. Kimberly Lightford disagree with her exclusive approach and advise her to work with the governor on minimum wage and employment reform.

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