Illinois business leaders renew debate over minimum wage increase during COVID-19

Local News

Springfield, Ill. (WCIA) — Many business leaders are hoping to bring back employees they were forced to lay off after the stay-at-home order ends.

The Illinois Chamber of Commerce believes the July increase would make it much harder to afford those employees.

According to Todd Maisch, CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, the increase will put a strain on employers.

“We need to not be talking about increasing their costs. We need to be talking about decreasing their costs, and what we can do to allow them to get reopened, and rehire their employees.”

Right now, Illinois is set to increase the minimum wage by 75 cents.

Delaying the increase would have to go through the legislature, but lawmakers are not planning on coming back anytime soon.

It would then have to be signed by Governor J.B. Pritzker.

When asked during a press conference what he thought of the delay, Pritzker didn’t like the idea.

“It’s only been the large business organizations like the chamber of commerce that have brought this up. The truth is, I think the current conditions actually indicate more than ever before why we need to raise the minimum wage across the state.”

The governor believes that the wage increase will help those who lost their jobs due to the pandemic get back on their feet, but according to organizations like the national federation of independent businesses, the negative impact on business owners could negate those potential positives.

Mark Grant, State Director of the NFIB says, “All those things are affected by the increase. All your costs will increase. Its not just a 75 cent increase. It’s a cumulative thing, and it can be expensive for businesses.”

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