In addition to the “Grand Bargain”—Senate Bills 1-13, covering tax increases, public pension reform, workers’ compensation reform, a property tax freeze, a minimum wage increase, and school funding reform—NFIB/IL is also monitoring a variety of other bills that would impact small business owners. Unfortunately, there are many that are more of the same bad-for-business proposals, such as a $15 minimum wage hike and mandated paid sick leave.
For one Illinois small business owner, mandates like these have been incredibly problematic. Ken Jarosch, owner of Jarosch Bakery in Elk Grove Village, has already been dealing with a $13 minimum wage and mandated paid sick leave for both full- and part-time workers, thanks to the City of Chicago and Cook County.
“We already pay six sick days for our full-time staff,” Jarosch says. “Many of our part-time employees have highly variable schedules—they are high school kids—so trying to track when each one was sick versus had a last-minute band practice will cause issues.”
But the most damaging mandate, he says, is the $13 minimum wage—and several bills being considered in Springfield could raise this rate even higher statewide.
“This nearly 60 percent increase in the minimum is unprecedented,” he says. “They are experimenting with unexplored economics. They think it will improve the lives of the working poor. For the ones who keep their jobs, it may. For the ones who lose their jobs or never get hired, not so much. The worst part of the legislation is the automatic annual increases based upon the Consumer Price Index in 2021 and beyond. Regardless of your company’s fiscal health, your employees get a raise?”
Jarosch says that minimum-wage jobs are meant to be low-paying, first-time jobs and that the problem is there aren’t enough better paying, higher-skilled jobs into which they can move.
“Legislators need to pass laws that make Illinois attractive to manufacturers,” he says. “They also need to reform our state pension system and other costly state-run entities so that we can afford our own state government.”
Stay tuned for updates and alerts on these issues, and be ready to speak out about how they will affect you and your business.