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Illinois lawmaker proposes alternative to $15 minimum wage

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WEEK) — Under current law, Illinois minimum wage will reach $15 an hour by 2025. Republican State Senator Chuck Weaver says it is time to play zone, allowing for regional choice.

Instead of Governor J.B. Pritzker's favored statewide minimum wage of $15, State Senator Weaver introduced Senate Bill 3396, which that allows a city or a county to set their own minimum wage, a figure set by employment numbers and their cost of living.

"So if a community happened to be 30 percent less cost of living, their minimum wage in 2025 would be 30 percent less as well, so 15 would be closer $10.50," said Weaver.

Weaver says his bill would create six regions to determine the appropriate minimum wage for different parts of the state. Tuesday in Peoria, Governor Pritzker stood by the increase he passed into law last year.

"I think someone doing a job anywhere in the state is worth the same as someone doing a job anywhere else in the state," said Pritzker.

And across the aisle, Democrat and fellow state senator, Dave Koehler, acknowledges that Weaver is on the right but says a lower wage is not the solution.

"Where I would put the focus, rather than trying to change minimum wage, is try to change the help we can give small businesses to offset that," said Koehler.

He instead suggests employers should get a tax rebate to help afford paying their workers the $15 minimum.

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13 WREX Newsroom

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