August 25, 2017
To the Honorable Members of
The Illinois Senate,
100th General Assembly:
Today, I veto Senate Bill 81 from the 100th General Assembly, which raises the statewide minimum wage to $15 an hour over the next four years.
Helping low-income families and individuals get out of poverty is a top priority, and I share the passion of many members of the legislature for improving the well-being of those struggling to make ends meet. However, mainstream economic theory and mainstream economic evidence strongly suggest that an increase in the minimum wage of this magnitude will hurt the very individuals it seeks to help.
The most thorough research to date, published earlier this year by researchers at the University of Washington, found that for every 10 percent increase in the hourly earnings of low-wage workers, there was a 30 percent reduction in employers providing those jobs.
This research implies that Senate Bill 81 will result in a net reduction of earnings for low-wage Illinoisans in excess of $1,500 per year. This legislation would cost significant sums of money for the very people it purports to help. Illinois needs to be seeking comprehensive solutions that grow the economy and the number of jobs available where individuals can train, grow and attain better lives for themselves and their families.
Therefore, pursuant to Section 9(b) of Article IV of the Illinois Constitution of 1970, I hereby return Senate Bill 81, entitled “AN ACT concerning employment,” with the foregoing objections, vetoed in its entirety.