Senator Jim Oberweis is reaching out to employers and across the aisle to his Democrat colleagues to offer a compromise to the current debate about raising Illinois’ minimum wage.
On April 8, the 25th District Senator introduced an amendment to Senate Bill 2004, which would raise the minimum wage for workers ages 26 and older to $9.00 per hour on January 1, 2015; to $9.50 per hour on January 1, 2016; and to $10.00 per hour on January 1, 2017. The amendment would also prevent municipal leaders from requiring a higher minimum wage in their communities.
“As a long-time business owner, I have seen first-hand the impact of across-the-board minimum wage increases. As a lawmaker, I know how divisive this issue is, both across party lines and within party caucuses,” Senator Oberweis said. “I am offering a compromise.”
The Senator says by increasing the minimum wage for adult workers in steps over three years, Senate Bill 2004 will help working families, but should not kill jobs.
“I recognize the difficulty working men and women face when trying to support their families, so I am open to the idea of a higher minimum wage for adult workers. However, we must be careful. Illinois has one of the highest minimum wages in the country and is underperforming nearly every state in jobs, while the number of people in poverty grows,” Senator Oberweis said. “The other minimum-wage proposals out there right now only address across-the-board increases, which will result in significant job losses and is particularly unfair to young minority workers who already face high unemployment rates.”
Senator Oberweis says he has talked with business and legislative leaders about his compromise.
“The reactions to my amendment so far are mixed. Some are concerned. Some acknowledge that this is a workable compromise,” he said. “I will be working with business leaders and with lawmakers from both sides of aisle to make a minimum-wage increase possible without the very real economic harm that other minimum-wage proposals could cause.”