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Referendum to Raise Minimum Wage Inches Forward

Referendum to Raise Minimum Wage Inches Forward

Photo: Newsradio WTAX

We may see a referendum asking the public whether the state should raise the minimum wage.

The Revenue Committee in the Illinois House approved the idea Friday, with the support of House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago).

“There will be economic ramifications all across the board. The simple question is, do you want the government to help the people at the bottom, or do you not? That’s it. I’m here for the people at the bottom, for this bill to try and help lift them up. That’s it,” he said.

The referendum, which would be non-binding, asks whether the state should raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour. It’s now $8.25.

Business organizations testified in opposition, suggesting it would prevent hiring of entry-level workers. “If they’re not hiring, particularly in the 16-24 age category, and we know they’re not, particularly inexperienced workers, workers who don’t have basic job skills, at $8.25, we doubt we’ll see an increase at $10,” said Rob Karr, head of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association.

Legislation has been introduced in Springfield to raise the minimum wage to $10.65, but the speaker has been having trouble rounding up the votes to pass it.

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