Inaugural signers include Illinois Main Street Alliance; National Latino Farmers and Ranchers Trade Association; Michael Shuman, Business Alliance for Local Living Economies; Bill Flynn, CEO, Paeon Partners; Amanda Kreiss, President, Inner Ecology; Peter Carey, VP, Mandel Lipton and Stevenson; Joe Pinder, Owner, Pinder Pottery; more. Click here for Signer LIST IN FORMATION.
We, the undersigned business owners and executives, support raising Illinois’s inadequate minimum wage to benefit business, workers and our economy. The Illinois minimum wage of $8.25 an hour amounts to just $17,160 for working full time, all year round.
It is too low for healthcare aides, childcare workers, cashiers, restaurant workers, security guards and other minimum-wage workers to make ends meet. With less buying power than it had in the 1950s and 60s, today’s minimum wage means poverty for working families and undermines our economy.
A higher minimum wage makes good sense for our Illinois economy. It puts money in the hands of the people who will put it right back into local businesses, buying needed goods and services. Research has shown that minimum wage increases boost consumer spending substantially more than tax cuts do. And increasing the minimum wage reduces the strain on our social safety net caused by inadequate wages.
Decent wages at the bottom benefit the bottom line beyond boosting consumer spending. Businesses see cost savings from lower employee turnover and reduced expenses associated with hiring and training new employees. Higher wages increase productivity and improve product quality, customer satisfaction and company reputation.
Raising the minimum wage will not increase unemployment. The first federal minimum wage was legislated during the Great Depression to lift wages to alleviate poverty and increase the consumer purchasing power needed for job creation and economic recovery. Minimum wage increases play the same role today. The most rigorous studies of the impact of actual minimum wage increases show they do not cause job losses – whether during periods of economic growth or during recessions.*
The minimum wage would be more than $10 today if it had kept up with the cost of living since the 1960s. A new poll shows that 71 percent of Illinois voters believe the minimum wage should be raised to $10.50 by 2013 and adjusted annually for inflation as ten states already do.
As business owners and executives, we support an annual increase of 50 cents plus inflation to restore the historic value of the minimum wage ($1.60 in 1968, which is $10.03 in 2010 dollars). After regaining its historic value, the minimum wage should be adjusted annually so it does not again fall behind the cost of living. This makes good sense for our businesses, our workforce, our communities and our state.
* Research and polls are posted here.
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