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Minimum Wage: 3 Noteworthy Quotes in Heated Debate About Illinois' Minimum Wage

By    |   Monday, 21 Dec 2015 03:54 PM

The minimum wage debate in Illinois has been heating up, especially since Chicago raised its minimum wage. But a bill introduced and passed by the Illinois State Senate in the last legislative session that would have gradually increased the state minimum wage up to $11 per hour by 2019 went nowhere in the House. And so the minimum wage in Illinois still stands at $8.25 per hour, an amount that is not considered a living wage in the Prairie State, where expenses require a person to earn at least $11 an hour to survive.

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Here are three noteworthy quotes about the pros and cons of increasing the minimum wage in Illinois:

1. "There's a need across this country to help the working poor. As long as they're giving up everything trying to do the best for their families, we should not keep them heavily relying on government assistance, and that's exactly what we're doing by finding every excuse we can to not give them fair, livable wages."
– State Sen. Kimberly Lightford, D-Maywood, about SB 11, which she sponsored, and would have increased Illinois minimum wage to $11 per hour had it passed in the House. February 2015, Chicago Tribune.

2. "If we raise the minimum wage, increasing employers largest cost line-item by 25 percent, employers are going to be forced to make cuts, which will start with jobs. No employer's sales are increasing by 25 percent, particularly in the retail sector, so they have no other choice. This does nothing to change Illinois' economic reputation, and it further economically disenfranchises Illinois citizens - particularly those who are low-skilled and inexperienced."
– Rob Karr, president and CEO, Illinois Retail Merchants Association, responding to SB 11's passage in the Senate. February 2015, Progress Illinois.

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3. "This bill is an important step forward for working families throughout Illinois and for thousands of Chicago residents who work outside the city. In December, we raised Chicago's minimum wage so no family who works will have to raise a child in poverty, and I'm glad to see progress is being made for working families across the state."
– Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, about the minimum wage bill passing the Senate. February 2015, Progress Illinois.

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The minimum wage debate in Illinois has been heating up, especially since Chicago raised its minimum wage. A bill passed by the Illinois State Senate in the last legislative session that would have gradually increased the state minimum wage up to $11 per hour by 2019 went nowhere in the House.
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