Senate Bill 2004 was assigned to the Senate Executive Committee on April 29, three weeks after Oberweis amended the bill with a proposal that would raise the minimum wage for workers ages 26 and older to $9.00 per hour on Jan. 1, 2015; to $9.50 per hour on Jan. 1, 2016; and to $10.00 per hour on Jan. 1, 2017. The amendment would also prevent municipal leaders from requiring a higher minimum wage in their communities.
Oberweis says assigning Senate Bill 2004 to the powerful Senate Executive Committee allows lawmakers and business leaders to hear directly from proponents and opponents of the issue in a public forum.
“The debate about raising the minimum wage has generated strong opinions on both sides of the issue,” he said. “By offering a workable compromise, I am asking business leaders and lawmakers from both sides of aisle to see if a minimum-wage increase is possible without the very real economic harm that other minimum-wage proposals would cause.”
Oberweis believes by increasing the minimum wage for adult workers in steps over three years will help working families, but will not kill jobs.
“It is important for working men and women to be able to support their families; however, we must be careful to not hamstring employers to the extent that jobs are lost. The stark fiscal reality is that 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,” 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.”