Groups watching minimum wage legislation

IFB working with other associations that represent small businesses on possible compromises.

Mark Gebhards, Illinois Farm Bureau executive director of governmental affairs shares details of discussions around the bill. (Photo by Catrina Rawson)

By DeLoss Jahnke

One of the topics of discussion that’s growing in volume around the state capitol is a potential increase in the state’s minimum wage to $15 per hour. The topic was part of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s campaign, and it may soon be acted upon.

Illinois Farm Bureau policy does not support such an increase, said Mark Gebhards, Illinois Farm Bureau’s executive director of governmental affairs and commodities.

“Obviously, this has a small-business impact and the cost of doing business for our members,” Gebhards told the RFD Radio Network®. “We’ve been involved with a number of discussions around this bill with the business community.”

Gebhards said participants in those talks include the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, Illinois Manufacturing Associations, National Federation of Independent Business and other organizations.

“The coalition opposed to the minimum wage has been open to alternatives,” Gebhards said. “But again, our policy is very clear to oppose the proposed increase.”

Gebhards said there has been some talk of a staggered wage increase, which could involve smaller increases in non-metro areas.

“I don’t think that those are progressing,” he said. “The governor was pretty clear in his wishes to not have a split wage.

“Now I think the question is, ‘what’s the timeline they could implement this, what period of years?’ So does it go up incrementally? That’s where the discussion has been focused.”

As IFB continues to build connections with new statehouse members, Gebhards said the upcoming Governmental Affairs Leadership Conference on Feb. 19 makes a good chance to come to Springfield to talk to elected officials.

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