Schakowsky Statement on Illinois Minimum Wage Bump

February 19, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON– Today, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, a Senior Chief Deputy Whip, released the following statement on Governor Pritzker signing legislation to raise the minimum wage:

“For the last 40 years, American workers have not gotten their fair share of economic growth, despite increasing productivity,” Schakowsky said. “Raising the minimum wage is one part of Democrats’ commitment to get workers and middle-class families a long overdue raise. Illinois is leading the way, and I look forward to Congress to do its’ job and raise the minimum wage to a uniform amount across all 50 states. I applaud my friend, Governor Pritzker, and state legislators in Springfield, for their efforts to give working families in Illinois a much-deserved raise.”

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Today, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law legislation that will raise the Illinois minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025, from $8.25. Illinois is the fifth state nationally to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour, and the first in the Midwest.

From 1980 to 2014, inflation adjusted wages for the bottom half of income earners grew by one percent, while real wages for the top one percent of earners grew by 205 percent. Our economy, our communities, and our country is stronger when we reward and support hardworking families.  Gradually phasing in a $15 minimum wage by restores the value of the minimum wage for every American worker, without exception. It ensures that the federal minimum wage is no longer a poverty level wage.

Arguments about job losses have been rebutted by high quality economic research over  the past several years. For example, a 2018 paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research analyzed 138 state-level minimum wage increases between 1979 and 2016 and found no evidence of larger dis-employment effects amongst low wage service workers when the wage floor was set at higher levels.  Likewise, a study of six cities that were early adopters of higher minimum wages found that pay in food services increased, employment did not change and there was no switching by employers to more educated workers.