Minimum Wage Would Go to $10 under Lightford’s Bill

February 11, 2011  |  

(Chicago Sun Times) — Senate Democrats proposed raising the state’s minimum wage Thursday in a bid that eventually would boost pay for the working poor to more than $10 an hour. Sen. Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood) introduced legislation that would raise Illinois’ $8.25-an-hour minimum wage by 50 cents plus the rate of inflation annually until it reaches its “historic level.”  The legislation defines that “level” as the equivalent in today’s dollars of what $1.60-an-hour was in 1968 when the inflation-adjusted buying power of the minimum wage peaked. Today, that rate would equal $10.03 per hour.  If the proposal gains traction in the Legislature this spring, it would help offset the impact on low wage earners of the 67-percent increase in the individual income-tax rate that took effect in January.  “There has rightfully been a lot of discussion lately about how to improve the state’s business climate. But as we go forward, I want to make sure that minimum wage workers aren’t ignored and forgotten,” Lightford said in a prepared statement.  But her plan would shift additional costs onto Illinois businesses that just absorbed a 46 percent hike in corporate income taxes and give job-poaching GOP governors from outside Illinois another argument to convince businesses to relocate to their states.

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