House Chamber, February 14, 2019 – As the House sponsor, Rep Will Guzzardi sponsors SB-1, the bill to increase the minimum wage in Illinois to $15/hour by 2025.
Guzzardi and others who support the bill, including Gov Pritzker who joined Guzzardi on the House floor to congratulate him as the vote for passage went through, argue the increase to $15 an hour by 2025 will have no negative economic impact on the state, but will lift the working poor to a higher standard of living.
Opponents to the bill — including ALL House Republicans, say this level of increase, approximately 82% over a short span of five and a half years, has never happened before in any city or state, and the impact is unknown. Rep Mark Batnick (R), began the debate by asking the House Sponsor, Rep Guzzardi (D) for data that would support the claim that this will not injure the state’s economy, its businesses or the working poor. After a bit of back and forth, Guzzardi argued that when you do something new and bold, you won’t have supporting data for that which has yet to occur.
Republicans had tried to argue that the state is not really ONE economy, but is more accurately described as a series of regional economies, in which the impact of a $15 per hour minimum wage would either have little impact, or be devastating. They noted that many small businesses across the state are located within small islands of economic activity, in small communities whose population is below 10,000, where the opportunity to increase prices to offset the increased labor costs, will not be possible. Nor in such small communities is there the opportunity to increase sales enough to afford the increase.