Minimum Wage Increase Forcing Change Locally

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Governor J.B. Pritzker recently signed into law a bill that will steadily increase the minimum wage in Illinois.

The bill calls for a $1 per hour increase on January 1, 2020, an additional 75 cent increase per hour on July 1, 2020, and then $1 per hour increases each January 1 until it reaches $15 per hour in 2025.

That could have a profound impact on local workers and businesses in all corners of the state.

“I think the goal here is to give people a wage they can live with and I think that is a laudable goal. I’m in favor of that goal, generally. But that same rate is not the same in Chicago as it is in Carbondale,” said Colin Dalough, director of government affairs and business development at the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce.

And while some local businesses will have to adjust their wage scales, municipal organizations could see an even greater change.

The Naperville Park District employed 391 individuals who earned less than $9.25 per hour in 2018. If the minimum wage were immediately increased to $15 per hour, it would cost the park district over $1 million in wages alone.

District 203 would see a $610,000 increase in wage expenses and District 204’s impact would be about $1.5 million.

All of these estimates are done without considering the impact to other employees’ salaries.

“If you have an employee that is currently making $16 an hour and a new hire comes in at $15, that employee that’s been at a business for five years or ten years is going to ask for a raise as well. I think that makes sense,” said Dalough.

The last time Illinois increased minimum wage was in 2010, making it $8.25 per hour. Illinois will become the fourth state to increase minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.