Yet another attempt to raise Illinois’ minimum wage to $10 an hour could be in the hands of voters this November.
But even if it passes, it won’t be binding on businesses and industries.
This latest attempt is an advisory referendum passed by the Illinois House of Representatives Tuesday and the bill, House Bill 3814, will now go to the Senate which has it’s own bill pending in a committee, Senate Bill 68. If the Senate bill works its way through the legislative maze, it promises to phase in an increase in the minimum wage to $10.65 by 2016.
Rocky Raikes, chairman of the La Salle County Democrats, is frustrated by the dueling bills and the latest advisory referendum idea.
“As far as advisory, I guess if that’s what they need,” he said. “They really just need to raise it. I don’t know how people are making it on minimum wage today.”
Raikes isn’t the only one who questions why the government is going out on an advisory referendum when legislators could actually do the jobs they were elected to do and pass laws.
“We elected these representatives to go downstate and do what they think best for the people,” said Don Jensen, chairman of the La Salle County Republicans. “I think it’s a political ploy to get their people out to vote.”
But don’t think that means he agrees with increasing the minimum wage.
“I think it should be left to businesses to decide what they can afford to pay people to get the job done in their business,” he said.
State Rep. Frank Mautino (D-Spring Valley) voted for the measure but his 2014 challenger, Jerry Long would not have supported it, at least not now.
Long, in an e-mail, indicated he believes this is the wrong time to even consider raising the minimum wage.
“After we have made the necessary changes to correct our economy, and it is proving to go in the right direction, we then could have a discussion about raising the minimum wage,” the Republican wrote.
Tamara Abbey can be reached at (815) 539-5200 or firstname.lastname@example.org