To the Editor:
To push Illinois forward, we have to pursue plans that will make our state a more attractive place to live and work. One significant way to invest in our community and the people who call it home is to increase the minimum wage.
As a small business owner, I do not take the increased cost of minimum wage lightly. I understand all too well constantly reviewing the numbers to ensure the business’ viability. However, even in business, not everything can be easily measured in numbers. But this is not about minimum wage, this is about minimum dignity.
Which is why I recently stood up and supported working families by raising the minimum wage annually, bringing a $15 minimum wage to communities statewide.
The minimum wage was artificially low in this state for far too long. This increase will assist 212,000 people working full-time to earn a wage above the poverty line.
I know firsthand the impact of minimum wages on working families. Before securing a union job on the southeast side of our district, my father worked for minimum wage, and so did many others in my family and in my community growing up.
A minimum wage increase is an investment into a sustainable economy. This plan considers the impact on businesses and provides small and medium-sized businesses with a tax credit. The credit helps 80 percent of businesses cover a significant amount of these new wages.
According to the Illinois Economic Policy Institute, this plan will generate $19 billion in new economic activity every year. It is expected that, in turn, families may reinvest these higher wages in our local economy, helping those businesses succeed and grow.
Raising the minimum wage balances families’ need for fair pay with the needs of small businesses, while creating the potential to put billions of new dollars back into our local economy.
Of course, there is more work to be done. And that starts with giving constituents a stake in the matters that affect them most.
On Saturday, Mar. 9 from 11:30a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Rep. Kambium Buckner (D-26) and I will be hosting a joint community discussion to address Gov. Pritzker’s proposed budget through a State House analysis and what it means for our communities in regards to education and economic stability. I look forward to working collectively and collaboratively with the 25th District to get our state back on track.
The community discussion will take place at Robust Coffee Lounge (6300 S. Woodlawn Ave).
Curtis J. Tarver II
State Representative, 25th District