Could you imagine trying to make a living on six bucks an hour?
That's 240 dollars a week, before taxes.
That's 12 grand a year, before taxes.
And the federal government has a minimum wage of $5.15!
When the Democrats took over in 2002, they raised the state minimum wage to $6.50, starting 1/1/2005. The bill, SB 600 (Senator Kimberly Lightford, D-Westchester) is here.
Now Illinois should follow the lead of Washington, Oregon, Nevada and Florida, and index the $6.50 minimum wage to inflation, so that it doesn't become less valuable over time.
Representative Toni Berrios has introduced a bill to do that, HB 7358, which is here. (Full disclosure: I had it drafted and asked her to introduce it).
The General Assembly should pass a version of that bill in 2005.
Everyone but the free-market ideologues understands that a higher minimum wage is great for the economy, because it puts money in the pockets of the people who will spend it.
Business Week has a good column on the topic here entitled Minimum Wage: The States Get It.
This is another example of where Blue America must lead when the GOP-led D.C. will not.