CHICAGO – In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Governor Pat Quinn today continued his drive to increase the minimum wage in Illinois to at least $10. While visiting a church on the South Side of Chicago, the Governor cited an increased minimum wage as a key weapon in the “War on Poverty” along with the Earned Income Tax Credit and decent healthcare for all.
“There is no better way to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. than by raising Illinois’ minimum wage,” Governor Quinn said. “Dr. King’s legacy was one of service, compassion and inclusion. We can continue his mission to eliminate poverty by raising the minimum wage to at least $10 an hour, which will give hundreds of thousands of Illinois workers more dignity while boosting the local economy."
A full-time minimum wage worker in Illinois makes $16,600 a year, well below the Federal Poverty Threshold for a family of three ($19,530). If Illinois' minimum wage had kept pace with inflation, it would be $10.75 today, not $8.25 where it is currently set.
Raising the minimum wage is not only a fair and just policy, but it also makes sound business sense. Fair wages mean more cash in consumers’ pockets and economic growth. According to the Federal Reserve, every dollar increase in the minimum wage generates an estimated $2,800 in new consumer spending annually. A minimum-wage worker will not sit around admiring this new income in a bank vault. He or she will spend it quickly and locally, a shot-in-the-arm to Main Street economies.
In addition, six of ten minimum wage workers are women. Some 600,000 Illinois women would benefit from an increased minimum wage, ranging from caregivers to the elderly and those with disabilities to restaurant servers.
In 2011, Governor Quinn doubled the value of Illinois’ Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to provide targeted tax relief to working families who need it the most.