One prescription for the problem of hunger could be an increased minimum wage, says the Illinois Hunger Coalition. The group is using the latest poverty numbers to urge people to vote in favor of the advisory referendum to raise the state minimum from $8.25 to $10 an hour. Isn’t that a job killer? “The largest economic boom we ever had in Illinois was when we raised the minimum wage $1,” says Antonio Lightfoot, a community organizer with the coalition.
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Lightfoot says the wage is the major reason for Illinois’ poverty and hunger rates. One in seven Illinois families are considered hungry – receiving help from food banks. 14.7 percent of Illinoisans are considered to be in poverty. It’s more than double that percentage for African-Americans.