WESTCHESTER, Ill. – To ensure hard-working employees can earn a living wage, state Rep. Chris Welch, D-Hillside, signed on to legislation increasing the minimum wage from $8.25 to $10.65.
“Working families deserve to earn a living that puts food on the table and keeps a roof over their heads,” Welch said. “No one should have to turn to public assistance while working a full-time job. At a minimum, wages should reflect the cost-of-living to help workers struggling to make ends meet. Moreover, raising the minimum wage will help boost our economy by providing relief to employees, giving them more money to spend at local businesses.”
House Bill 3718 gradually increases the minimum wage for employees over 18 starting in October 2014 and extending through July 2016. The minimum wage would go from $8.25 to $9.25 on October 1, 2014, then go up to $10 on July 1, 2015, and finally to $10.65, by July 1, 2016.
According to Raise Illinois, a legislative and grassroots campaign to increase Illinois’ minimum wage, 400,000 minimum wage workers live in Illinois, 80 percent are older than 20. A single parent with two children working a full-time minimum wage job earns just $17,160 annually, below the federal poverty line, and more than 100,000 full-time workers in Illinois live below that line. To date, only 19 states have increased their minimum wage above the federal rate of $7.25.
“No company should have a business plan that relies on taxpayer dollars to increase its bottom line. Yet, for businesses that pay their workers minimum wage, that is their plan,” said Wendy Pollack, from the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law. “The current minimum wage is a poverty wage, even for workers employed full-time, year-round. Nearly three quarters (73%) of the families enrolled in public assistance programs such as Medicaid, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), are employed. An overreliance on public assistance to supplement the low wages paid to workers costs taxpayers billions of dollars each year. Increasing in the minimum wage will address this unfairness head on.”
For more information, contact Welch’s constituent service office at 708-450-1000, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.emanuelchriswelch.com.
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