Gov. Rauner says that economic evidence suggests the wage hike would harm workers more than help them
By NACS Online
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has vetoed a bill to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022, saying it would hurt businesses and ultimately reduce jobs, reports the Chicago Tribune.
The news source notes that the state’s minimum wage has been $8.25 an hour since 2010, and that Rauner has previously expressed support for a more modest raise. However, Rauner said in a veto message that “helping low-income families and individuals get out of poverty is a top priority,” but that economic evidence suggests such a big wage hike would hurt workers more than help them.
Rauner cited a University of Washington study on the impact of Seattle’s $13 an hour minimum wage hike, which found that the average low-wage worker lost money as employers faced with higher labor costs reduced hours, put off hiring or laid off people. The news source notes that by that study’s measures, a $15-an-hour wage hike would cause Illinois low-wage workers to see a net reduction in earnings of $1,500 per year.
The Illinois Chamber of Commerce, which opposed the bill for being a “job killer,” applauded the veto. “Thanks to the governor’s veto of SB 81, Illinois employers can breathe a little easier today,” President and CEO Todd Maisch said. “This keeps Illinois in competition with our neighbors by helping to maintain our jobs and to recruit prospective employers.”
Per the news source, the vetoed measure would have increased the state’s minimum wage to $9 in January and gradually raise it up to $15 by 2022. For part-time or seasonal workers under 18 years old, the increase would have been to $12 an hour.