For Immediate Release | February 15th, 2019
CARMI, IL – Thursday afternoon, despite opposition from employers across the state, the majorities in the legislature passed a bill for a statewide $15 per hour minimum wage by 2025. The Carmi Chamber of Commerce opposes the bill as it is written now.
The bill will raise the statewide minimum wage to $15 over a six-year period, starting with a $1 increase in January 2020, then a 75-cent increase in July 2020, bringing the wage up to $10. Another dollar would be added to the wage every January until 2025.
The Carmi Chamber of Commerce disagrees with the notion that rural communities should be expected to raise wages at the same rate and speed as a city the size of Chicago,” stated Executive Director Lauren Higginson.
To put this into perspective, research shows the current median home cost in Chicago is $225,500, while the average cost in Carmi is $59,600. There are many small-town businesses that will not be able to sustain this steep of an increase without cutting back their number of employees, which would increase unemployment, or significantly raising their prices, which would incentivize people to spend their money elsewhere. Evansville is a 40-minute drive and already receives a significant amount of business from the residents of Carmi. Local businesses being forced to raise prices will further decrease the amount of money spent here in Carmi, which will, in turn, decrease sales tax revenue.
Higginson added, “Given the Governor’s stated support, we recognize this bill will likely become law. However, we maintain our opinion that a tiered system which considers the regional markets and cost of living would be a better solution than applying the same increases statewide.”
The Carmi Chamber urges the governor and legislation to consider implementing subsequent legislation to mitigate the negative impact the bill will have on rural communities, along with additional tax breaks for small businesses and other pro-business reforms.
Contact: Lauren Higginson | Executive Director | [email protected]