Evanston’s Economic Development Committee is scheduled Wednesday night to discuss a proposal to increase the city’s minimum wage by nearly 22%.

The proposal, from Ald. Devon Reid (8th) would create a two-tier minimum wage scale, with large employers having to raise base pay from the current $13.35 per hour to $16.25 by July next year.

Reid would give smaller employers — those with four to 50 employees — a bit of a break. They’d only have to increase wages from $13.35 to $15.50.

Evanston currently follows the Cook County minimum wage ordinance, which increases the minimum pay rate annually by 2.5% or the increase in the consumer price index, whichever is less.

Reid’s proposal would adopt the two-tier pay scheme from Chicago’s minimum wage ordinance — but set different break points for the split between large and small employers.

Chicago currently requires businesses with 21 or more employees to pay $15.40 an hour and firms with four to 20 employees to pay $14.50 an hour.

The Chicago ordinance uses the same formula as Cook County for its annual increase provision.

Reid’s proposal would also follow Chicago’s rule that requires employers to make up the difference between the lower tipped-worker wage and the minimum wage if a tipped worker’s tips fall short.

The packet for the EDC meeting does not indicate whether any other suburban communities have adopted or are considering a minimum wage higher than what’s provided by the county ordinance.

The committee is scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. at Fonda Cantina, 1735 Benson Ave.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Questions for the author:
    Since Evanston began increasing the minimum wage (2017) –
    Are there more businesses operating in Evanston than there were in 2016, or fewer?
    Are there more non-public employees working in Evanston than there were in 2016, or fewer?

    1. Gary, every day brings “ fresh hell” from Devon Reid. I can’t distinguish between parody and his great ideas.

  2. Maybe Devon could get a job at this new rate? Lots of folks are hiring. Then he can pay back Connections for the Homeless for his back-rent subsidies.

  3. I really don’t think Devon Reid will be happy until he drives all the large employers out of town. Then he will wonder why tax revenues are down.

  4. Somebody hand over a small business to Mr. Reid and watch him run it for 6 months or insolvency before he pushes businesses related ordinances. How about starting with seeing if he is paying his own bills before burdening struggling businesses with more expenses? This fallacy that all businesses are “rich” needs to stop immediately.

  5. Another awful Devon Reid proposal. Evanston is suffocating and needs life support. Wake up City Council/ Mayor Biss…

  6. Continuing to get this nonsense from Ried isn’t the slightest but surprising. In fact I commented just the other day that I was surprised we hadn’t seen this already. What’s the most concerning though is the rest of the elected officials far too often going along with these business killing schemes.

  7. What’s better for workers than a higher minimum wage? A tax on vacant land and unoccupied premises. A higher minimum wage discourages hiring. But a vacancy tax on residential property makes the owners get residential tenants (and set the rents within reach of wages), while a vacancy tax on commercial property makes the owners get business tenants, who in turn will need workers, leading to higher *market* wages and more stable jobs.

    What’s better for business than a lower minimum wage? A tax on vacant land and unoccupied premises! A lower minimum wage cuts the spending power of prospective customers, and makes it harder for prospective employees to afford housing within a manageable distance of your business. But a vacancy tax on nearby residential property keeps it populated with prospective customers and workers, while a vacancy tax on nearby commercial property keeps it populated with complementary businesses that will attract foot traffic to *your* business.

    Notice that a vacant-property tax is meant to be AVOIDED. It’s not meant to be paid. Moreover, avoidance of it would generate economic activity, expanding the bases of other taxes and allowing their rates to be cut, so that both workers and businesses would pay LESS tax!

    1. I love this idea. I’ve always wondered how can an owner of a building just let it sit empty for years and not suffer.

      Great idea.

    2. How about we go with Georgist Land Value Tax instead? It rewards land owners for developing their property, rather than punishing them with higher property taxes. It also encourages multi-family dwellings over single family homes, which should help with home affordability.


  8. Minimum wage increase is necessary. Getting paid $13.25 an hour is an insult at this point. I think the minimum should be $15 but $16.25 for bigger businesses works too. Employees and workers need to get paid, the more they get paid the more they contribute to the economy. It’s the system and it’s just how it works.

    I hate to agree with Mr. Reid but he’s right, the minimum needs to go up.

    Every once and a while Mr. Reid has a good idea. To compare him to a baseball player these are his stats:

    **Based off 100 plate appearances**
    Avg. 203
    HR – 1
    RBI’s – 12
    Runs – 3
    SB’s – 0
    Hits – 23
    Walks – 5

    So, looking at those numbers you would see that he needs to go back to the minors to work on some things.

    That’s how someone needs to talk to him. They need to explain to him that he’s a .200 hitter right now and things aren’t looking good for him.

  9. I’d like to see the proposal first.

    Wait…there *is* no real proposal? I’m shocked!

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