Illinois faith leaders are headed to Springfield this morning to call on legislators to raise the minimum wage. The religious leaders and members of the Raise Illinois coalition boarded an Amtrak train today to go to the state capitol to hold a press conference on the issue.
The group will deliver a scroll signed by some 200 religious leaders in support of raising the minimum wage along with a petition signed by 1,000 Illinoisans who want to see legislators raise the hourly wage by passing Senate Bill 1365, which would do just that. State Sen. Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood), lead sponsor of the bill, is scheduled to speak at the presser in Springfield along with several faith leader.
Illinoisans who signed the petition say a raise in the minimum wage is a necessity to helping improve the economy.
"Raise It! It’s at a rate that makes it unlivable," commented Christina E. of Hanover Park, who signed the petition. "Its ridiculous to think that a person making $8.25 can afford everyday cost of living items and their bills, plus paying off any debts and trying to get ahead on that small amount of pay. It’s just not reasonable! The economy will never be stimulated if we cannot even afford to live."
Economist Ron Baiman is also expected to speak at the press conference at the Capitol Rotunda in Springfield. He says the bill needs to be passed, especially in light of recent legislation passed to give big corporations tax breaks.
“Unlike the recently passed bills giving hundreds of millions of dollars in corporate tax breaks that the state cannot afford, this bill is guaranteed to increase jobs in Illinois because it would increase economic activity from the demand side," said Baiman, director of budget and policy analysis at the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability. "It would not cost the state a penny, and it would provide a much needed boost to the incomes of families at the very bottom end of the wage scale who most need help during these times of continued real wage decline, unabated expansion in inequality, and persistently high and long term unemployment."