SPRINGFIELD — A recent study reveals what most Illinoisans think about increasing the state’s minimum wage: they’re all for it, and they’ll have a chance to say so on Nov. 4.
The survey, conducted by public opinion polling company Public Policy Polling, asked more than 800 likely Illinois voters if they believed the state should raise its minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.
Sixty-one percent of respondents said they do support the measure to increase the minimum wage, while 33 percent responded with opposition. The remaining 6 percent were unsure.
The effort to increase the wage has support across party lines, with 85 percent of Democrats, 57 percent of independents and 29 percent of Republican respondents in support of the increase.
Voters will have a chance to make their opinion known in November, as they’ll find an advisory referendum on their ballots on Election Day asking whether the minimum wage should be raised to $10.10 an hour.
State Sen. Matt Murphy, R-Palatine, speaking on a potential minimum wage increase, said, “I believe this will hurt the very people we’re trying to help.”
“Most people think raising the minimum wage just means more of their neighbors make more money,” Murphy said, explaining Illinoisans’ support. “But it has ripple effects. Stuff will cost more. Jobs will be lost. Fewer people will be hired.”
While the national minimum wage requirement is $7.25 an hour, some states have wage floors much higher. Illinois’ current minimum wage is $8.25 an hour, placing it higher than all but four other states.
Kim Maisch is the state director for the Illinois chapter of the National Federation of Independent Businesses and said raising the minimum wage is a bad idea for Illinois.
“Employers only have so much money to spend on labor,” Maisch said. “When the labor costs go up, many will be forced to slow or stop hiring. The vast majority of small businesses in the state are against an increased minimum wage because of this.”
Maisch also said most people wouldn’t be willing to pay the increased prices for goods caused by the increased cost of labor.
“If significantly increasing the minimum wage causes the price of hamburgers to go up significantly, people will just look elsewhere or order more products online and pay less again,” she said.
State Rep. Mary Flowers, D-Chicago, says she supports the minimum wage increase and said it should be higher.
“I support raising it to at least the $15 an hour being discussed in Chicago,” Flowers said. “These people can’t make a living on the current minimum wage. We’re allowing single mothers to live in poverty just because the law sets their salary too low.”
Flowers said that if businesses don’t pay their employees more, the state has an obligation to take action.
“It’s our responsibility to ensure people can make a decent and fair living,” the representative said. “There’s no excuse for the amount of poverty we see in Chicago and in other places across the state.”
Public Policy Polling surveyed 812 likely voters between Oct. 12 and 14, and the study has a margin of error of +/-3.4 percent.
Brady Cremeens is a reporter for the Illinois News Network.