Sen. Dave Syverson responds to minimum wage vote

Staff Report

SPRINGFIELD — Illinois Sen. Dave Syverson (R) called Thursday’s vote to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour over the next year a costly one.

“With approximately 99 percent of our nation’s businesses being considered a small employer, this is a wage increase that will cost jobs, drive out employers and harm consumers,” Syverson said. “When considering the long-term impact of this legislation, we’re headed down a path that eliminates critical entry level positions while increasing unemployment figures, ultimately making it even harder to do business in Illinois.”

Syverson, who voted no Thursday, said the incremental increase will have far-reaching implications for employers across the board, including an increase in annual costs for state agencies, local school districts, human service providers and hospitals.

According to the Pritzker Administration, a $15 minimum wage increase will add over $1 billion to the annual state payroll. Meanwhile, the nursing home industry will see a massive cost-impact as high as $1.5 billion. Syverson says the results of the increase will also impact property taxpayers and result in a large numbers of layoffs. Costs to local school districts are estimated to be in the millions, he said, which could result in property tax increases.

Rockford Park District is estimating a $1 million impact, and is anticipating an adverse effect on their summer help programs, Syverson said.

“We have to look beyond the surface to the lasting consequences of this measure. The reality of a minimum wage hike will include tax increases, insurance and care rate spikes and the loss of entry level jobs,”  he added. “This big of an increase is wishful thinking that overlooks the unintended consequences that will be felt by taxpayers, students and businesses across the state.”

The last time Illinois raised minimum wage was in 2006 and within a year of the increase, Illinois lost 50,000 jobs. Employers, human service providers, and local governments will face layoffs and limited hiring in the future.

“Rather than ramming through shortsighted legislation, we should take our time, consider the full impact of this minimum wage increase and allow for legitimate feedback from our districts. The reality is, this may impact the very people they say this bill is supposed to help,” Syverson said.

Senate Bill 0001 passed out of the Senate by a vote of 39 to 18 and will now advance to the House for further consideration. R.

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