My wife and I traveled to Springfield in late January with a group of faith leaders to talk with Illinois legislators about supporting a higher minimum wage. Since that trip, I have felt energized to tell the story of the working family with the hopes of finally raising the minimum wage in our state.
What better time than near the Labor Day weekend to honor all of the minimum wage workers in Illinois? They do many of the jobs we depend on, yet these working people's annual income of $16,500 is simply not enough on which to live, much less thrive.
Minimum-wage earners lack time to care for their families because they are working so hard to make ends meet. They have little time to invest in community life. Many of them lack funds to meet even their most basic needs.
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.
As we enter the third year of seeing no increase to the $8.65 an hour wage, we should realize that it is not only the worker who suffers under this low wage. The economy suffers as well.
Increasing the minimum wage stimulates the economy as working families spend their money first in their local communities. Increasing consumer spending is the key to economic growth — growth the state of Illinois so desperately needs.
I'm asking my senator, Terry Link, to continue to advocate for working families and for the state of Illinois as a whole by voting for SB 1565. This bill proposes an increase that would gradually move the Illinois minimum wage from the current $8.25 per hour to $10.65 per hour in 2014.
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