1. Creates Jobs
According to a January 2012 report released by the Economic Policy Institute, a bill to raise the minimum wage “would result in a net increase in economic activity of approximately $2.5 billion and would generate approximately 20,000 new jobs.” Furthermore, “a minimum-wage increase is one of the few budget-neutral job-creation strategies available to state governments struggling with budget shortfalls.” Raising the minimum wage would create jobs for Illinois residents, without costing the state!
2. The Economy
If workers that live paycheck to paycheck make more money, they will have no choice but to spend it immediately at local businesses, which will stimulate the economy. Increasing consumer spending is key to economic growth.
3. Families Depend On It
The increase in Illinois’ minimum wage will primarily benefit low-income families who depend on the earnings from minimum wage workers to make ends meet. Of the workers who will get this proposed raise, over 80% are age 20 or older, over half work full-time and another third work between 20 hours and full-time.
If the minimum wage had risen with the cost of living over the past 40 years, it would be $10.39 today. With gas and food prices rising, minimum wage workers are making less than ever. Minimum wage earners in Illinois’ already have $2/hour less in purchasing power than a minimum wage earner in the late 1960s, and their ability to cover basic expenses will continue to decline.
5. Widespread Popularity
71% of Illinois voters support a proposal to raise the minimum wage in annual steps to $10.50 by the year 2013. Nearly 9 in 10 Democrats (88%), a strong majority of Independents (70%) and close to half of all Republicans (46%) support an increase in the minimum wage.
People that work for a living should make enough money to provide for themselves and their family. No one should be working full-time and still not be able to make ends meet. Unfortunately, that is the current struggle of the minimum wage worker.
7. Most New Jobs Are Low-Wage
During the recovery (2010 Q1 to 2012 Q1), employment gains have been concentrated in lower-wage occupations, which grew 2.7 times as fast as mid-wage and higher-wage occupations. Specifically, Lower-wage occupations constituted 21 percent of recession losses, but 58 percent of recovery growth. Americans that have been laid off are seeing that any new jobs they find pay significantly lower wages than their previous job. This means that more and more Americans are living in poverty and the wage gap is growing.
8. Benefits All Workers
Increasing the minimum wage raises the wage floor so that all workers make more. As the minimum wage goes up, pay scales rise to reflect the increase in value of all workers. Evidence shows that when the minimum wage is increased employers often raise wages for those earning above the minimum wage.