December 2, 2014
This morning, I voted in support of the minimum wage increase proposed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and recommended by the Minimum Wage Working Group. I believe this measure will better the quality of life for many working families, young adults and senior citizens in our community as well as help break the cycle of poverty for 410,000 people, nearly 31% of the Chicago workforce.
This ordinance will establish an incremental increase of the minimum wage to $13 per hour in Chicago, a 42% increase over the current local minimum wage, by the year 2019. Due to inflation, the real value of minimum wage has been declining since a peak in 1968. Over one-fifth of Chicagoans live below the poverty line, as compared to 14% in the rest of Illinois. The Minimum Wage Working Group met with hundreds of residents, business owners and community leaders, hosted public meetings, and reviewed dozens of minimum wage increase cases before adopting the recommendation of $13/hour on a 14-3 vote.
During my review of this ordinance, I met and talked with many 48th ward small business owners. Our neighborhoods of Andersonville, Edgewater and Uptown are strong and unique because of our hundreds of small, independent businesses. I will continue to work and fight for a city that is fair and friendly to these businesses, the true backbone of our local and regional economy.
As a State Representative back in 2006, I supported the state-wide minimum wage increase at that time, a measure that helped move Illinois forward. Today's action will increase the standard of living for 410,000 Chicagoans, also Illinoisans, and I believe will have a great positive impact on both our city and state. Our local state legislators will continue their efforts to increase Illinois' minimum wage, as supported by many voters in a referendum on November's ballot. Both State Sen.Heather Steans and State Rep. Kelly Cassidy sponsor bills to increase the minimum wage.
If you have any questions or comments on the Minimum Wage ordinance, please feel free to contact me at 773-784-5277 or Harry@48thward.org
Alderman, 48th Ward