Certainly one of the most prominent and controversial policy issues on deck at the Capitol is a potential increase of the state’s minimum wage. Senate Bill 68, which would increase the state’s minimum wage from the current $8.25 to $10.65 by 2016, is poised to move in the Senate.
Quinn has long-supported passage of an increase, and recently stated a minimum wage hike is his top priority before leaving office in January. Governor-elect Bruce Rauner has also indicated he would support a minimum wage increase if it were accompanied by with business-friendly concessions, including tort reform, tax reforms and workers’ compensation reforms.
Heading into the fall session, the future of the initiative is unclear. Proponents of a minimum wage increase point to the results of an advisory referendum on minimum wage that was placed on the November 4 ballot, and which garnered significant support from Illinois voters. However, minimum wage opponents contend that increasing the minimum wage will hurt Illinois employers, resulting in lay-offs and increased prices on goods and services.
Illinois currently has the seventh highest minimum wage in the United States, which is an additional dollar-per-hour more than the standing federal minimum wage.