Gov. Rauner vetoes $15 an hour minimum wage bill

ByCraig Wall via WLS logo
Friday, August 25, 2017
Gov. Rauner vetoes $15 an hour minimum wage bill
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Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed the $15 an hour minimum wage bill on Friday.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed the $15 an hour minimum wage bill on Friday.

Gov. Rauner's veto was a stinging defeat for groups that have fought for the past several years to get the state to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, but business groups applauded the governor's move.

Senate Bill 81 would have raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour over the next four years. It currently stands at $8.25 an hour.

On Friday afternoon a group of fast food workers rallied outside the Thompson Center calling on the governor to sign Senate Bill 81. Later they staged a sit-in inside to protest his veto.

In a statement Governor Rauner said in part: "Helping low-income families and individuals get out of poverty is a top priority, and I share the passion of many members of the legislature for improving the well-being of those struggling to make ends meet. However, mainstream economic theory and mainstream economic evidence strongly suggest that an increase in the minimum wage of this magnitude will hurt the very individuals it seeks to help."

Supporters of the bill say it would have helped more than 2 million workers in Illinois.

One of the groups urging the state government to pass the bill was Grassroots Collaborative, a labor-community coalition.

A statement in part from Amisha Patel, Executive Director of Grassroots Collaborative, said: "Governor Rauner has shown once again that he does not care about our communities and the pain Illinois families are experiencing. Raising the wage floor in Illinois to $15 per hour would have created a pathway for 2.3 million Illinois workers to move their families out of poverty. After decades of cuts to vital services, education, and infrastructure Governor Rauner is adding insult to injury for communities that continue to be abused by the Governor and his wealthy clique of political insider friends."

Democratic candidates for governor ripped the move, calling it a cruel blow to working people and hurting their ability to build better lives.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate and Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th Ward) also spoke out against the governor's veto in a statement saying, "When Bruce Rauner was running for governor, he was outspoken against raising the minimum wage in Illinois. Meanwhile, during his time as a venture capitalist, he relied heavily on low wage workers to make hundreds of millions of dollars in profit."

Business groups, including the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce applauded the veto saying the bill would have inhibited job growth and business development.

Labor groups are planning a major rally on Labor Day to protest the veto.