Rockford, Illinois News

Illinois Rep. Maurice West proposes tax break for employee raises

(THE CENTER SQUARE) — Illinois Rep. Maurice West, D-Rockford, is making another attempt to grant tax breaks for small businesses that give raises to their employees.

West filed House Bill 186 on Jan. 22. If enacted, it would provide a tiered tax break for businesses who give raises to their workers.

“After the minimum wage increase last summer, I had heard a lot from small business owners in my district,” he said. “This is my hope to help our small business owners who are in compliance.”

The bill would give a small business a 25% tax break on the difference in an employee’s pay if their total pay doesn’t exceed $37,400 annually. That tax break scales down to a 15% credit if their employee is paid less than $52,000 in the taxable year.

“I wanted to provide any type of relief so that they could stay in compliance with the minimum wage increases,” Smith said.

The bill was first filed during the 2020 session but, like hundreds of others, didn’t get a hearing due to lawmakers essentially taking the year off for fears of COVID-19 infections.

The small business community criticized Illinois’ minimum wage rate legislation that changed the rate to $10 an hour in July while many employers had no income due to pandemic-induced closure orders. The rate increased to $11 an hour in January and will increase yearly to $15 an hour in 2025.

Calls for Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the legislature to put a hold on the rate went unheard.

The bill has yet to be assigned to a committee for consideration.

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