We hear the economy is great, and it is, if you are middle class or above and benefit from the stock market.
Unemployment may be down, but almost half of U.S. jobs pay about $18,000/year. When you have a family to support, there’s a world of difference between a job with a living wage and health insurance and one without.
In Coles County, 1 in 5 live in poverty. Half of our children qualify for free or reduced lunch at school, and 2 in 5 families with children don’t know where their next meal will come from.
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That’s an economy that’s leaving a lot of people behind. The Illinois minimum wage is $9.25 per hour, or $19,240 a year for full-time work.
Taxpayers “subsidize” businesses with minimum wage employees through tax-funded food stamps and Medicaid upon which these workers rely. Anyone working full time should earn a living wage.
A $15 minimum wage equals $31,200/year. Financial security would be a tremendous boost for our friends and neighbors. The added bonus is that people who have more money, spend more money, boosting our local economy and improving all of our lives.
-- Karen Clausing, Charleston