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Rauner Blasted For Vetoing Bill To Raise Minimum Wage To $15

By Rachel Cromidas in News on Aug 25, 2017 10:50PM

Fast food workers demonstrate outside the new location of McDonald's corporate headquarters in the West Loop on May 23rd, 2017. Photo by Aaron Cynic.

Gov. Rauner has vetoed a bill that would see Illinois' minimum wage go up to $15 over five years, in a move that was quickly criticized by advocates of the wage increase.

The current minimum wage in Illinois is $8.25 an hour. The bill was meant to raise that wage slowly over the next five years to eventually hit $15 an hour for workers aged 18 and over.

The bill included a tax credit meant to help businesses with 50 employees or fewer, but it was nonetheless criticized by the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, among other groups, saying it would hurt the jobs market. The bill, which passed in the Illinois house back in May, was sponsored in the House by Rep. Will Guzzardi (Democrat-Chicago), who said in a statement shortly after Rauner's Friday afternoon veto that he was "deeply disappointed but not in the least surprised" by the governor's move.

“Once again, Gov. Rauner has shown that he’d rather project the profits of his corporate allies than help lift millions of Illinoisans out of poverty,” Guzzardi's statement said.

Guzzardi also tweeted his displeasure, with a jab at Rauner's timing:

Organizers for the Fight For 15 movement to increase the minimum wage blasted Rauner's decision and highlighted the challenges facing workers making just $8.25 an hour:

Illinois’ minimum wage is just $8.25, where it has remained for more than a decade. SB-81 will raise pay for more than 2 million Illinois workers, including nearly half of the state’s African American and women workers and 60 percent of Latino workers. The bill will generate $2.3 billion in revenue to alleviate the state budget crisis. Illinois taxpayers pay $5 billion per year in public assistance to make up for low wages, paid by corporations like McDonald’s, essentially subsidizing their bottom lines.

Fight For 15 demonstrators said in a statement Friday evening that about a dozen workers sat on the floor of the Tompson Center lobby in protest after Rauner vetoed the bill, chanting "Rauner Vetoed $15, Veto Rauner in 18."

Democratic candidate JB Pritzker, who seeks to challenge Rauner in the governor's race, said Rauner's veto shows that, "once again, Rauner abandoned Illinois working men and women and stood in the way of progress for those striving to get into the middle class."

The Grassroots Collaborative put out a statement criticizing Rauner as well:

“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.”