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Illinois: Raise the Minimum Wage?
Gaper's Block
Aaron Krager

July 5, 2011
View the Original Article

Illinois is tied for the third highest minimum wage in the country, only outdone by Oregon and Washington, despite that advocates are calling for an increase is a stagnant economy.

A coalition of organizations are calling upon elected leaders to pass legislation to increase the minimum wage one year after the bump up to $8.25 per hour. Working 40 hours a week for 52 weeks equates to a $17,160 salary - without taking time off.

Rev. Jason Coulter (full disclosure - I attended seminary with him) in the video above makes the point of increasing wages as a common sense and not solely a religious or moral value.

The coalition's objective is to garner support for a bill that would peg the minimum wage to inflation while also increasing it in a manner to match the 1968 high. Over the next four years the increase would be 50 cents plus inflation.

It would allow wage earners a guarantee of a pay increase as well as some manner to keep up with the cost of living increases. According to the coalition: Consumer spending drives 70 percent of the economy, and increasing demand is the key to jumpstarting production and rehiring. A raise in the minimum wage helps low-income households who immediately put the money back into the economy at the local grocery store, barber shop or gas station. The Economic Policy Institute estimated that the 2009 federal minimum wage increase from $6.55 to $7.25 an hour would generate $5.5 billion in new consumer spending. A robust minimum wage can help build a sustainable economic recovery- - without increasing costs to taxpayers. Despite opponents' claims, extensive research on state minimum wage increases shows no evidence that such increases result in job loss, even in times of economic recession.

A net positive effect for the local economy and for every day workers.