After New Jersey made its move toward a $15 minimum wage official, the question was where next—and it hasn’t been a long wait to find out. The Illinois state Senate has passed a bill raising the state’s minimum wage from its current $8.25 an hour to $15 in 2025. The state House, which has a Democratic majority, needs to vote next. Assuming the bill passes the House, Gov. J.B. Pritzker is on board, telling reporters that “If you live in this state and put in a hard day’s work, you should be able to afford to put a roof over your head and food on the table.”
The bill raises the minimum wage to $9.25 an hour on Jan. 1, 2020, then to $10 on July 1, 2020. After that, it rises $1 every January until it reaches $15 in 2025. Unfortunately, it does not bring the tipped minimum wage up to $15 with everyone else, keeping that at 60 percent of the full minimum wage. The bill offers a tax credit for small businesses that will be gradually phased out.
Illinois’ minimum wage hasn’t increased since 2010, but Chicago and Cook County have increased theirs, which are currently at $12 and $11, respectively. The federal minimum wage remains stuck at $7.25, where it’s been for a decade. Congressional Democrats have introduced a $15 minimum wage bill, but Republicans are blocking it and will continue to do so as long as they can.
Speaking of New Jersey, the last state to head to $15, its legislature has sent a bill strengthening its paid family leave program to Gov. Phil Murphy’s desk.
This blog was originally published at Daily Kos on February 9, 2019. Reprinted with permission.