State Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) says he fears empowered Democratic lawmakers in Springfield are focused on the wrong things when it comes to fixing the state’s ailing economy.
“I think the state needs to focus on bringing better, high-paying jobs to the state,” he told the Will County Gazette. “Simply raising the minimum wage won’t do the things that are needed to get stuff back to the way it once was in Illinois.”
With his first budget address due in just over two weeks, Illinois Policy Institute reports, Gov. J.B. Pritzker is aggressively pushing a minimum wage increase to $15 an hour to coincide with his Feb. 20 address and to make good on a pledge he made a staple of his campaign platform.
Currently, Illinois’s minimum wage is $8.25 an hour and preliminary reports have the rate nearly doubling to $15 no later than 2025.
“To follow up on this is to see more jobs leave the state,” added Batinick, who won re-election in the 97th District in November. “There’s no way regions like southern Illinois can come close to affording this. You’re going to see business owners near the border just walk across and set up to do business right there.”
The Illinois Retail Merchants Association is backing the plan with the caveat that wage rates be adjusted per region based on the economy of the area.
“It seems like something is bound to happen on the minimum wage, and it’s just a matter of what,” Batinick added. “As responsible lawmakers, the thing we have to remember is Chicago isn’t all of Illinois, and that has to be considered in whatever decisions we make.”
The 97th District includes portions of Bolingbrook, Joliet, Montgomery, Naperville, Oswego, Plainfield and Shorewood.