Illinois Governor Pat Quinn wants to raise the state’s minimum wage. His support comes as new census figures show more Illinois residents are living in poverty.
Illinois saw 150 thousand more people slide into poverty last year, for a total of about 1.9 million of the state’s nearly 13 million residents. Governor Quinn says raising the state’s minimum wage would help turn those figures around.
“I believe in this. The minimum wage is set up to fight poverty. There are families in Illinois who are working 40 hours a week and still living in poverty. That to me defies the Biblical principle that if you work hard, you should not live in poverty” Quinn said.
Quinn says Illinois should take into account cost of living adjustments, like by tying the minimum wage to inflation.
Illinois companies must pay workers at least $8.25 an hour. That’s a dollar more than the federal minimum.
Businesses groups say raising Illinois’ minimum wage would make the state less competitive. They fought a legislative effort last spring to boost Illinois’ minimum wage. Small business owners say it’ll force them to lay off workers because they can’t afford bigger paychecks.