Senator McClure says $15 minimum wage bill ignores vast differences between Chicago & downstate

By Blake Schnitker on February 8 at 2:45pm

A local State Senator is voicing his reasons for voting against raising Illinois’ minimum wage to $15 dollars an hour.

State Senator Steve McClure, of Springfield, who represents Illinois’ 50th Senate District, was amongst those casting a vote yesterday in the state Senate on whether or not to raise the minimum wage in Illinois to $15 dollars an hour. The local Senator was among those voting against the bill, which ultimately passed by a vote of 39-18.

Senator McClure explains why he chose to vote against Senate Bill 1 to raise the state’s minimum wage.

“Well, basically it came down to the fact that Springfield, Jacksonville, Pittsfield, Jerseyville, they all have a different cost of living than they have in the city of Chicago. Right now, in the city of Chicago, the minimum wage is $13 an hour, because it’s very expensive to live there. In our part of the state, it’s $8.25 an hour. What this bill does is it does everything it can to equalize us out with Chicago, and it pretends as if businesses in our state are all equal, but they’re not,” says McClure.

Senator McClure expands on the differences between Chicago and west central Illinois, and explains what he believes is a one-size fits all approach the Senate is taking.

“Chicago is at $13 an hour right now. We are at $8.25. That is still one dollar above the federal minimum wage. Our biggest problem right now, which I talk about all the time, is that people are not coming to our state, businesses are not coming to our state, people are not staying in our state, businesses are leaving our state. People and businesses can go right across the border and take those jobs with them, and that’s just going to continue,” McClure explains.

McClure also goes over some of the real consequences that he anticipates in Illinois if this bill officially passes.

“The problem here is that we’ve got a lot of independent businesses, a lot of independent small businesses, and to pretend like they should be paying the same prices as employees get in Chicago is absurd. Unfortunately what’s going to happen is people are going to lose jobs, people are going to be working less hours because employers can’t keep them on for a particular number of hours because the cost is going to be so great for them. This is going to cause everything to go up, from the cost of education to the cost of buying a sandwich some place, because these costs do not come out of thin air, these costs come from somewhere, and typically it’s from the consumers,” says McClure.

Under Senate Bill 1, the minimum wage in Illinois would reach $15 an hour after a six-year phase-in period. There would be two raises in 2019: a 75-cent raise effective January 1st, and another $1 dollar raise on July 1st, so that by the end of the year, the minimum wage is $10 dollars an hour. Following that, the minimum wage would go up $1 dollar per year until it reaches $15 dollars an hour in 2025.