Illinois Voters Could Get Chance to Weigh-in on Minimum Wage in November

SPRINGFIELD -- The November ballot is starting to look awfully crowded, now that a House Committee has voted to place an advisory question on the ballot asking if Illinois should raise it's minimum wage to $10/hr.  The current minimum wage is $8.25/hr.  The proposal now goes to the full House and Senate.  If passed by the legislature and then passed by voters in November, the ballot question would not have any legislative impact, but rather would let lawmakers know how Illinois voters feel on the issue.

It could potentially join two other referendums on the November ballot to amend the State Constitution to enact term limits and create non-partisan legislative district drawing in Illinois.  Both of those proposals face court challenges.

Polls show increasing the minimum wage is popular overall statewide.  A poll cited by the 'Raise Illinois' coalition, which has been formed to push a minimum wage increase, says more than 70% of residents support the increase.  A link to the poll on the 'Raise Illinois' website is included below.

So why add an advisory question to the ballot when the legislature could pass a minimum wage increase now?  It would appear at the moment the proposal does not have the votes to pass, and so an advisory question on the November ballot could add political pressure to pass a minimum wage increase in Springfield after November.

Raising the minimum wage at the federal level has been an emerging issue as well, with some Republicans joining with Democrats to support it.  Those who oppose an increase cite several studies, including one recently by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, which shows raising the minimum wage would lift some families out of poverty, but at the cost of hundreds of thousands of jobs nationwide.

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