There’s another minimum wage bill for lawmakers in Springfield to consider. This one raises the minimum wage to $10 an hour by 2017, but only for workers age 26 and older. It would remain $8.25 for those 25 and under. It comes from State Sen. Jim Oberweis (R-Sugar Grove), who is the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate. He says this bill doesn’t kill entry-level jobs. “I can assure you that when companies hire 16-, 17-, 18-year-olds for their first job, arguably the kids getting those jobs ought to be working for nothing, because they’re getting experience and they’re learning how to get better jobs. I’m making an extreme statement there; it’s partly a joke, of course,” he said.
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A spokesman says U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) is against the idea, saying it would keep a lot of low-wage workers in poverty. Oberweis says reaction to this has been “mixed,” but he says he’s looking for Democratic support, without which nothing will happen, he says. His bill would raise the minimum wage to $9 an hour in 2015, $9.50 in 2016 and $10 in 2017. It’s up against a bill sponsored by State Sen. Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood) to raise the minimum wage to $10.65 by 2016, and index it to inflation.