Legislation that would gradually raise Illinois’ minimum wage to $15 per hour passed the House Labor and Commerce Committee by a 17-6 vote earlier this month. Under the proposal, the state minimum wage would rise from $8.25 to $9 on Jan. 1, 2018, and on to $15 by 2022. Businesses that employ 50 or fewer workers would be eligible for an income tax credit that is proportional to the wage increase, ranging from 25 percent in 2018 to 5 percent in 2022.
However, NFIB/IL State Director Mark Grant told The State Journal-Register that small businesses would be forced to raise prices or cut hours or staff to make ends meet and that the tax credits offered are not enough to offset the 80 percent mandated labor cost hike.
Raising the minimum wage would mean raising prices, but that would hurt sales of goods and services, he said. If you can’t raise your prices anymore, you cut other things. You either cut the number of employees that you have or cut their hours.
Additionally, NFIB/IL member Cindy Neal, owner of an Express Employment Professionals (EEP) franchise in Peoria, shared a white paper—“The Problem with a $15 Minimum Wage in America”—produced by EEP that shows a $15 minimum wage has great intentions, but bad results. Consequences include a rise in automation that would displace workers, reduced job opportunities, higher unemployment for young and low-skilled workers, and more. According to an EEP business survey, 37 percent of employer respondents said they’d have to increase the price of their goods or services if a $15 minimum wage were implemented, and 30 percent said they’d have to lay off staff.
Your chance to tell lawmakers how harmful this mandated wage hike would be is April 26, at Employer Action Day in Springfield. If you haven’t already registered, please plan to join us!