Minimum wage hike helps for now


Olivia Brady, senior, helps a customer bag groceries while she works a minimum wage job at Peter Rubi.

Stephanie Wallace, Feature Editor

  Illinois has increased the minimum wage from $8.25 an hour to $9.25 and it will raise to $10 on July 1. After that it will steady increase the amount a dollar a year starting each January 1 until 2025 when the amount will be $15 an hour.
“I would very much like a pay increase because as a high schooler, I need to save money for the future,” Marija Gosheva, senior, said.
The bill Public Act 101-0001, was passed Feb 19 of last year. Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the bill during the ceremony at the Governor’s Mansion in Springfield according to the Chicago Tribune.
Pritzker is quoted by the Chicago Tribune saying, “For nine long years, there were many forces that were arrayed against giving a raise to the people. Today is a victory for the cause of economic justice.”
The federal minimum wage remains at $7.25 but The House passed a bill in July of 2019 to raise the federal wage to $15 an hour. Although not all states are required to increase their minimum wage, 20 states have also increased the amount and will continue to increase until the minimum wage is $15 by January 2025, according to National Public Radio.
“So many people deserve the opportunity just to feel hope, to feel like they can go to work and come home and have dignity and pride and respect in what they do,” Kimberly Lightford, Senate Majority Leader, said, in the Chicago Tribune article.
The Employment Policies Institute reports that the long-term benefits will not be as noticeable. They claim that small businesses will need to “increase sales by hundreds of thousands of dollars to generate the profit to pay those costs.”
“If they raise minimum wage too high, it will encourage more automation. We are already seeing that at McDonalds where they have the kiosks. Everyone of those kiosks takes away a job,” John Smith, history teacher, said.
According to research done by the University of California-Irvine, the minimum wage gap will hurt young first-time workers who are in high school or do not have a college degree, and minorities the most. It’s claimed that minimum wage will help decrease poverty, but economists at American University and Cornell University say that it will have the opposite effect.
As of now, minimum wage is predicted to have a beneficial term effect because the increase guarantees minimum wage workers will be paid more for the hours that they will.
“With the state of Illinois, I think that the one thing that I do have to give them credit for is that they are slowly getting it up to fifteen dollars an hour. The point of minimum wage is to match what is known as the poverty threshold,” Jim Kappas, economics teacher, said.