A look at the state’s minimum wage issues

Jul 8, 2014

Illinois lawmakers are considering raising the state's minimum wage to ten dollars, and Chicago could raise it higher still. IPR’s Amanda Vinicky surveys the minimum wage landscape.

Despite Democratic majorities and a push from the governor, Illinois' legislative session adjourned without a bump in the minimum wage. Lawmakers settled for putting a non-binding question on the November ballot asking if that's something voters want.

Part of the problem was that legislators from downstate, from both parties, were against a hike.

Andrew Biggs says it doesn't make sense to make sense to have a national, or even statewide, minimum wage. Biggs is a scholar with the American Enterprise Institute, a D.C. think tank that leans toward free enterprise.

"If you're in Chicago, or New York or San Francisco, wages are higher there, but the cost of living is a lot higher as well. If you're in a rural area - downstate Illinois, or you know, small towns or small cities around the country, both the cost of living and average wages are lower in those places."

Illinois' minimum wage is $8.25 an hour- a dollar higher than the federal one, though President Barack Obama wants that raised too.

Chicago's mayor just came out in favor of a $13 minimum wage in that city.