State Rep. Brad Halbrook, R-Shelbyville, says the minimum wage hike approved by the Illinois House will hurt local businesses throughout the state and make it more difficult for the state to overcome the current financial problems.

The House approved Senate Bill 1which will increase the minimum wage in Illinois to $15 per hour in six years.

Halbrook said he is disappointed in the actions taken especially when there were good faith efforts to try to reach a compromise.

“It is not often that you see business groups extending the olive branch to work on a minimum wage increase, but that is exactly what happened,” Halbrook said. “There were considerable efforts to try to reach a compromise, but unfortunately the Democrats put this legislation on the fast track and refused to reach any kind of mutual agreement. This increase is going to hurt downstate communities – especially communities near Illinois’ borders. Not only that, the legislation will increase the cost of state government payroll by more than $1 billion. Taxpayers are going to have pay these costs. Today was not a good day for the State of Illinois.”

Halbrook said Illinois already has a hostile climate for employers and the minimum wage law is only going to serve to make a difficult situation even worse. According to Chief Executive Magazine, Illinois is the third worst state in the country for doing business.

“Illinois has long had a reputation for being unfriendly to job creators,” Halbrook said. “With our excessive workers’ compensation costs, a minimum wage that’s already higher than most of our neighbors, and higher taxes, we really can’t afford to do any more damage to our business climate. There is not a single financial problem in our state that can’t be solved by creating more job opportunities. Our leaders at the state level continue to implement policies harmful to the business community and we wonder why we can’t get out of the current financial mess. Instead of more of the same – we need to be focused on policies that will create jobs and improve our economy.”

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