Saturday, December 18, 2004

Illinois should index the minimum wage

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.

That's impossible.

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.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

what will minimum wage be for individuals under the age of 18?

FightforJustice said...

Before raising it again, the effect of the new minimum wage should be analyzed. How many workers got a raise out of it? How many are adults? How many are illegal immigrants? Were any jobs eliminated? Once we have an objective analysis, then we can make a better policy decision.