Illinois House hears $15 minimum wage plan

MOLINE, Ill. (KWQC/AP) - UPDATE: A House committee plans to hear Democrats' plans to increase the Illinois minimum wage to $15 over six years.

The Labor and Commerce Committee has scheduled a Wednesday afternoon hearing on Chicago Democratic Rep. Will Guzzardi's legislation.

The plan would bump the $8.25-an-hour rate to $9.25 on Jan. 1. After moving to $10 on July 1, 2020, it would increase $1 each Jan. 1 until 2025.

Major business interests oppose the pace of the phase-in. They prefer a tiered approach with lower hourly rates in regions outside Chicago with lower costs of living.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker opposes that approach. He campaigned on a $15 minimum wage and told Democrats controlling the Legislature he wants to sign it into law before his Feb. 20 budget address.

ORIGINAL: The Associated Press has released that a Senate committee has OK'd increasing the minimum wage in Illinois to $15 in six years. But, the bill still has extra steps to go through before being made into a law.

Illinois lawmakers are considering a plan to raise the state's minimum wage to 15 dollars an hour, but the plan is not popular with business owners in the Quad Cities Area. The bill is expected to be heard in a senate committee this week.

The quad cities chamber of commerce opposes the bill and fears it will affect the quad cities drastically. They created a survey for business owners in the quad cities, and 82 percent of them werey opposed to the idea.

Paul Rumbler, President & CEO of Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce said, "We're communicating to our legislators the impact of the proposal, so that way they understand the dynamics of the Quad Cities a little better. We view the Quad Cities will be impacted differently than some other portions of the state. But we think border communities will be hit hard by this proposal because it's easier for them to move their business or someone else to go to another store - like in Iowa."

Other business owners were undecided about the bill, and could see both sides of the issue.

Bar owner of Pub 1848, Ashley Smith said, "I'm on the fence, and in this industry, I think it would affect some small business owners actually. I think from the ownership side of it- just because the taxes are higher in Illinois, employment, property, city taxes are higher than in Iowa, so you're already running your business at a higher percentage of cost, so you're going to over double your minimum wage."

They think that taking a smaller step towards the $15 would be ideal, and that way it wouldn't change the economy in the Quad Cities quite as much.

"I mean, $12-13 something's better than nothing, I think we should meet somewhere in the middle" explained Lynn Brook, employee at Legend's Bar & Grill.

They all hope legislators will take the Quad Cities into account when making the final decision.

The bill is still in the early stages, but if it's approved, the minimum wage would be raised over the next four years.