Illinois lawmakers are starting to build the case for an increased minimum wage. The House Labor Committee heard testimony Wednesday from parties in favor and will hear opposing views later this month. A minimum-wage earner was one of the witnesses. “They look up at me as a giant,” said Chicagoan Robert Lee, his voice breaking, of his four daughters. “They think I’m the strongest man in the world, but when I have to tell them no all the time because I can’t afford to do what I need to do for them – it hurts.”
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One bill (H.B. 3718) in the statehouse would increase the Illinois minimum wage from $8.25 an hour to $9.25 in October, $10 next July, and $10.65 in July 2016. A witness testifying Wednesday signs the front of a paycheck and says everybody on his staff makes at least $10 now.
“To start off with more than $8.25 is not a problem for me because I understand the overall benefits to our economy,” said Obie Wordlaw, owner of a Chicago-based medical supply company.