The Illinois Senate has approved increasing the state's minimum wage to $15 over six years.
The Democratic-controlled Senate voted 39-18 Thursday on a largely party-line vote. The proposal would increase the $8.25-an-hour minimum wage by $1.75 next year and $1 more on each Jan. 1 until 2025. The first phase would take place on Jan. 1, 2020, with a bump to $9.25.
"Raising the minimum wage throughout the state is crucial to help struggling, working families in Illinois," Sen. Elgie R. Sims Jr., who co-spnosored the legislation, said in a statement.
Republicans complained the cost to employers will be too high and Illinois will lose jobs. And they said state government will pay a steep price to absorb the cost taxpayer-financed institutions and those funded by Medicaid will have to pay.
"Pritzker’s minimum wage hike will crush small businesses and will cost taxpayers at least a billion dollars a year once the plan is fully implemented, and that’s not even a complete estimate," the Illinois Republican Party said in a statement.
Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford said she's surprised to hear GOP lawmakers say they don't want to help the working poor get off of public assistance rolls.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker campaigned on the issue.
"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," Pritzker said in a statement. "This is a long time coming, and we’re not done yet, but we’re closer than ever before."