CHICAGO – Gov. Pat Quinn says he wants to let voters offer their views on increasing the state's minimum wage.
Quinn signed House Bill 3814, which places an advisory question on the Nov. 4 ballot that asks if the state’s minimum wage for those older than 18 should be raised to $10 by Jan. 1.
Quinn first proposed raising the minimum wage in his 2013 State of the State address and earlier this year met with President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and senior administration officials at the White House to discuss raising the minimum wage.
“This November, Illinois voters will have the opportunity to send a clear signal to lawmakers that we must do the right thing for working families across Illinois,” Quinn said. “This is about dignity and decency. Raising the minimum wage will support hardworking men and women across our state and boost local economic growth. As we work to raise the minimum wage in Illinois, this referendum will help us get the job done.”
House Bill 3814 adds the question “Shall the minimum wage in Illinois for adults over the age of 18 be raised to $10 per hour by January 1, 2015?” to the Nov. 4 ballot. The legislation was supported by human rights organizations, the Illinois Federation of Teachers, the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, local chapters of the SEIU and the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law.
The Illinois minimum wage is currently $8.25, less than half of the average U.S. hourly wage. A full-time minimum wage worker in Illinois makes approximately $17,000 annually, which is well below the federal poverty threshold of $19,790 for a family of three. Six in 10 minimum wage employees are women, including many single parents. By increasing the Illinois minimum wage to $10 an hour, a half-million Illinois consumers will make an extra $4,800 a year and much of that extra income will typically be spent at local businesses on food, clothing and furniture.
Leaders from large companies such as Costco, Starbucks, The Gap Inc. and Stride Rite have supported increasing the minimum wage as a way to reduce employee turnover and improve workers’ productivity. The Gap Inc. recently acted to raise its own minimum wage to $10 for all U.S. employees. The move is expected to impact 65,000 American workers and more than 4,000 employees in Illinois.