Wheeler wanted House to deliberate more before approving minimum wage bill
Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) stressed what he said was the importance of getting the minimum wage bill right during a House Labor and Commerce Committee meeting Wednesday.
Wheeler said the legislature had until May 31 to pass Senate Bill 1, so they needed to stop rushing it.
Rep. Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago), the House sponsor for the bill, said Illinoisans have been waiting for a decade for a raise in the minimum wage.
"There are a whole bunch of folks in this state that are also concerned with this bill," Wheeler responded. "We are going too fast; we can’t even fix one word (in the bill)."
Wheeler said he was under the impression that the new approach the Democrats had spoken about at the beginning of the term would truly be a new start with discussion before passing bills.
"Holding this bill a week does not affect the effective date," Wheeler said. "Those words have to be right for the intentions to be met."
Wheeler questioned why the committee could not slow down and fix a few things on the bill.
"This one (the bill) is purely political," he said. "This is a huge piece of legislation, and yet we have to rush it through? Slow down. Let’s get this right."
Many businesses are opposed to the hike in minimum wage to $15.
Several retailers spoke at the committee hearing.
Colin Dalough, director of governmental affairs and business development at the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce, said his organization feels the minimum wage hike will have a different impact on different employers and that the policy should not be a one-size-fits-all approach.
"Details on this matter, and we ask you find a solution that works for everyone," Dalough said.
Rob Karr, president of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, held a press conference earlier in the week with several business owners who spoke about the hardships they said they would face if the minimum wage reaches $15 per hour.