More Good News on the Minimum Wage: Bill Passes Illinois Senate Committee
Earlier this week, I reported that the New York Assembly passed a bill to raise the state minimum wage but Illinois postponed a Senate Executive Committee vote on a minimum wage bill. Today, I’m happy to report that I was misinformed about Illinois: the Senate Executive Committee voted on – and passed – a bill that would raise the minimum wage from $8.25 per hour to its historic high, estimated to be at least $10.65 per hour by 2014, then index the minimum wage to keep pace with inflation. The bill would also eliminate the tipped minimum cash wage of $4.95 per hour, making tipped employees entitled to the same minimum wage as other workers.
Once again, this is great news for women, who are nearly six in ten minimum wage workers in Illinois. For a mom working full time to support two kids on the minimum wage, a raise to $10.65 per hour would mean an extra $4,800 per year – enough to lift her family out of poverty. Base earnings for tipped workers who make the current minimum cash wage of $4.95 per hour would more than double. Nationally, nearly two-thirds of workers in tipped occupations are women.
A minimum wage increase would also be great news for the Illinois economy. The Economic Policy Institute estimates that raising Illinois’ minimum wage to $10.65 over four years would generate about $2.5 billion in additional economic activity and around 20,000 new jobs. More than one million Illinois workers would get a raise – 56 percent of them women. And higher pay for thousands of Illinois women could help close the persistent gap between women’s and men’s earnings in the state; in 2010, Illinois women working full time, year round were paid only 76 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts.
The next step for the Illinois minimum wage bill is a vote on the Senate floor. Reports indicate that opponents are making the same bogus “job-killing” arguments that we’ve heard in New York and other states. Let’s hope a majority of senators listen to the facts and vote to help Illinois women and families – and the economy – by raising the minimum wage.
To get involved, visit www.raiseillinois.com!
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