WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Assessing The Minimum Wage Landscape

Jul 9, 2014
Originally published on July 9, 2014 5:04 am

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," Biggs said. "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. That's 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.

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