Editorial: Cash flow too low

Position Statement: The state of Illinois must raise its standard minimum wage in order to stimulate economic growth and provide the working class with a foundation that enables them to promote a sustainable lifestyle.

In statewide debate, increasing the rates of minimum wage within Illinois has been the forefront of economic strategies sought out to help improve the lives of those supported by low-wage incomes. It would stimulate growth by injecting more money into a struggling economy that does not provide the working population with the necessary resources to better their standard of living.

The Illinois House of Representatives and Senate have both supported the decision to raise minimum wage starting in the new year. However, January first came and went with no indication of the state government taking any initiative in changing the current minimum wage of $8.25 per hour.

When the House and Senate voted on the bill in May of 2014, around 62 percent of the House and 69 percent of the Senate voted in favor of the higher minimum wage of $10.65 per hour for adult workers. Furthermore, in the following Nov. 4 election, 63 percent of the voting population within the state also favored the passing of the bill. The people have spoken. With a majority of the Illinois population being in favor of the raise, the government needs to stop dragging its feet and begin the increase.

It is clear to a majority that the economy could stand to benefit with an increase in minimum wage, but what exactly does Illinois have to gain?

The main improvement that comes out of this bill is its ability to boost the economy and put more money into circulation. According to the Economic Policy Institute, in passing this bill, about $2.5 billion will be added into the state economy. The more money workers make, the more consumers spend, and therefore more money is being put back into the economy.

Where the wages are set currently, the annual minimum wage income amounts to around $17,000 a year. Thus, if a single mother with two children works a full-time job that pays minimum wage, her family would be living below the poverty level. How do we expect our working class to thrive when the state limits them from making economic progress? The time has come that the government takes action and gives the people of Illinois what they deserve.

Although many people support the increase, some still believe that by raising wages, companies forced to pay their employees more are being negatively affected in the process. However, employees are estimated to make an additional $4,992 per year and that excess income generates an increase of money coming back to local and large businesses.

Let’s set aside all economic benefits and focus solely on human dignity. Adults that work full-time should not be living in poverty. The government needs to acknowledge and vitalize the working class, not only to strengthen our economic situation but to improve the lives of the 100,000 people working full-time and still lacking the resources to live a sufficient lifestyle. Illinois cannot continue to go on this way. The increase is inevitable and is a fundamental stepping-stone in the betterment of our state’s future.