CHICAGO - Despite Illinois having one of America's highest minimum wages, Democrats are pushing for more in a 10-state bus tour that started in Chicago Monday. Governor Pat Quinn and U.S. Senator Dick Durbin were on hand at the first stop, promising their support to raise Illinois' minimum wage from $8.25 an hour to $10.10.
The tour will be in Chicago, Rockford and Springfield this week, calling for employers to be required to pay higher wages in an effort to meet minimum standards of living. The Center for American Progress, who is sponsoring the bus tour, says that a family in Chicago needs $53,055 to meet minimum standards of living. At $8.25 an hour, fulltime minimum wage earners make only $17,160 per year.
That needs to change, minimum wage hike supporters say. America's economy is favoring the wealthy few.
“For decades now, America’s middle class and working poor have lost tremendous ground due to a lopsided economy that works for the wealthy few,” said Lori Lodes, Senior Vice President of Campaigns and Strategies for the Center for American Progress Action Fund.
“Stagnating wages, rising costs, and growing inequality have hurt our economy and have underscored the need to build an economy that works for everyone. Raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour is a critical first step to giving hardworking Americans a better opportunity to get ahead while giving the economy a much-needed boost.”
The minimum wage discussion heated up in Illinois during the Republican gubernatorial primary when the eventual victor, Bruce Rauner, said he opposed raising Illinois' minimum wage, then backed away from the comment.
Democrat governor Pat Quinn says he plans to focus on raising the state's minimum wage as an issue leading up to the November 2014 General Election.