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IPA: State Minimum Wage Increase Benefits Outweigh Concerns

Lightford and Pritzker
Sen. Kimberly Lightford Twitter
State Sen. Kimberly Lightford, D-Maywood, alongside Gov. J.B. Pritzker address the media following the Senate's vote for a minimum wage increase Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019.

Despite employer concerns about maintaining their bottom line in the era of a minimum wage increase, Illinois People’s Action said the benefits outweigh concerns.

Executive Director Don Carlson said increasing the minimum wage is investing in the local economy.

“If you're paid a low wage, you're not investing that money in the stock market, or in 401(k)s,” he said. “You're doing things like you're paying rent, you're buying food, you might be lucky enough to be able to pay for child care. That's all money that's reinvested back into the local community.”

The Illinois Senate on Thursday voted 39 to 18 to increase the minimum wage to $15 by 2025. Illinois’ minimum wage has been $8.25 since 2010.

The Massachussetts Institute of Technology estimates the necessary living wage for one person with one child in McLean County at $25.

“Fifteen dollars is better than $8. It's not as good as $25, but something as important as hourly wages, especially for low wage, low-income earners, is really, really important,” Carlson said.

Local senators Bill Brady, Jason Barickman, and Chapin Rose all voted against the increase. The measure now goes for a vote in the House.

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