Illinois Senate OKs $15 minimum wage, moves to House

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The Illinois Senate has approved increasing the state's minimum wage to $15 over six years.

The Democratic-controlled Senate voted 39-18 Thursday on a largely party-line vote. The proposal would increase the $8.25-an-hour minimum wage by $1.75 next year and $1 more on each Jan. 1 until 2025.

Republicans complained the cost to employers will be too high and Illinois will lose jobs. And they say state government will pay a steep price to absorb the cost taxpayer-financed institutions and those funded by Medicaid will have to pay.

Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford says she's surprised to hear GOP lawmakers say they don't want to help the working poor get off of public assistance rolls.

"After nine long years, we are now on the verge of Illinois workers getting the raise they deserve," said Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who campaigned on the issue.

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