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Minimum Wage Increase Proposal Still Alive

Cass Herrington
Peoria Public Radio

A proposal to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour over the next five years is making its way through the state legislature.

Critics say it would hurt businesses, forcing them to lay off workers. But proponents of proposal say it could mean the difference between a worker struggling paycheck-to-paycheck and being able to afford basic living expenses.

Quavlin Moore is a single mother of four. She say it would mean more money for groceries and some new school shoes. “A lot of people that I live around locally, we’re all in the same spot,” Moore said. “We’re doing more and more and more and more, and it feels like we’re not going anywhere,” Moore said.

Moore is a home care worker and makes the $8.25 an hour minimum wage. She says she wanted to go to school but doesn’t have enough money to pay for transportation, let alone hire someone to watch her kids.

State Representative Will Guzzardi is a lead sponsor of the proposal, HB198. He says increasing the minimum wage would boost the economy because more workers would have money to spend and rely less on government assistance.

Republican Governor Bruce Rauner showed opposition to similar previous efforts to raise the minimum wage. Nevertheless, Guzzardi says, there’s still something to be gained in the fight.

“The legislature will be on the record saying that $15 an hour is what constitutes a living wage in this state," Guzzardi said. "That way, when we get a governor in office who’s more willing to respect the needs of working people, we can actually get this thing done.”

The bill passed out of committee 17-6 and is headed to the house floor for a vote.