Illinois’s minimum wage is currently just $8.25 per hour, or roughly $17,000 per year for a full-time worker.
For tipped workers, like waitresses, carwash attendants, and nail salon workers, the minimum wage is even lower – just 60 percent of the full minimum wage, or $4.95 per hour.
If the minimum wage had kept pace with inflation over the last 40 years, it would be over $10 per hour today.
What the bill will do
Over several years, it will gradually restore Illinois’ minimum wage back to its historic value – the inflation-adjusted equivalent of $1.60 in 1968 dollars.
It will do that by increasing the minimum wage by 50 cents plus inflation each year until it reaches that level.
Based on current inflation projections by the Congressional Budget Office, those increases would look like the following: 2011 $8.90; 2012 $9.50; 2013 $10.15; 2014 $10.65.
After 2014, the minimum wage would then simply be adjusted each year to keep pace with the rising cost of living. That would translate to annual increases of between 15 and 30 cents. Ten states have adopted this approach in recent years, which ensures that the minimum wage does not fall again in real value each year.
The bill will also raise the minimum wage for tipped workers from 60 percent of the minimum wage to 100 percent. Seven states including Minnesota currently require tipped workers such as waitresses, car wash workers and nail salon employees to be paid 100 percent of the minimum wage. They have found that it substantially reduces the high poverty rates faced by these workers.
Whom it will benefit
The bill will raise pay for hundreds of thousands of working families across Illinois.
Equally important, it will inject billions of dollars in new consumer spending into Illinois’s economy, as working families spend the higher wages on necessities at local businesses.