CHICAGO – Just one week before Christmas, Governor Pat Quinn today visited Chicago’s historic St. Pius V Church to continue his ongoing fight to raise Illinois’ minimum wage from $8.25 to at least $10. The Governor first proposed raising the minimum wage in his 2013 State of the State address and today’s visit is part of his agenda to alleviate poverty, drive economic growth and ensure that all workers are treated fairly.
“No one should work 40 hours a week and live in poverty,” Governor Quinn said. “This holiday season, it’s important to remember the hundreds of thousands of people across Illinois who are working full time but still trapped in poverty. As multiple studies have shown, this common-sense proposal is good for workers and the economy.”
Today’s event was held at the historic St. Pius Parish, which was founded in 1874 and is an important part of the Pilsen community, offering education, counseling and other tools to brighten the futures of those who want to work.
A full-time minimum wage worker in Illinois makes around $16,600 annually, which is well below the Federal Poverty Threshold of $17,916 for a family of three. The Governor supports raising the minimum wage to at least $10, and then tying raises in the minimum wage to the cost of living thereafter. This would ensure that the value of the worker’s wage will not decrease with respect to inflation.
The Illinois minimum wage ($8.25) – which hasn’t been increased since 2010 – is less than half of the average U.S. hourly wage. By increasing the Illinois minimum wage to $10, a half-million Illinois consumers will make an extra $4,800 a year and much of that extra income will typically be spent at local businesses on food, clothing and furniture, providing a strong boost to the local economy.
In addition, studies conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago show that an increase of $1 in the minimum wage generates approximately $3,000 in household spending per year, greatly improving purchasing power and strengthening our economy. Nearly two-thirds of small business owners support raising the federal minimum wage because they believe it will help the economy and, in turn, enable them to hire more workers, according to a poll conducted by the Small Business Majority. Leaders from large companies such as Costco, Starbucks and Stride Rite also have supported increasing the minimum wage as a way to reduce employee turnover and improve workers’ productivity.
Currently, 19 states and the District of Columbia have raised their minimum wages higher than $7.25 per hour, which is the current federal floor. Two more states will increase their minimum wages effective January 1. In addition, President Barack Obama has said that “it’s well past the time” to raise the federal minimum wage.
In August, Governor Quinn signed three laws that fight questionable practices in order to protect Illinois workers’ paychecks. House Bill 2649, House Bill 923 and House Bill 3125 deal with the misclassification of workers and the attempts of employers to avoid paying state employment taxes and premiums.