U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) is making the argument that businesses would be helped by an increase in the minimum wage. The president proposes raising it to $10.10 an hour over two years, then indexing it to inflation. Durbin says an every-year adjustment for inflation is good for workers and digestible for their employers.
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“If this is going up gradually, they can live with it, but if it’s going up $1, $2, $3, it’s tough. So when Congress drags its feet – when we hear from the speaker of the House, well, we’re not gonna take that up this year – it just means there will be a day of reckoning in the future, and the impact on business will be even tougher,” he said at a news conference on the subject Sunday in Chicago.
Durbin also said that raising the minimum wage will increase consumer demand for goods and services, which will be good for business. Durbin cited a University of Illinois study that found fast food workers and their families cost taxpayers $7 billion nationally each year because they need government benefits to get by.
Durbin said the Senate will bring up the issue this year and it probably will pass, but it’s in doubt in the House of Representatives. He said those who support an increase should make it a political issue in congressional elections this year.
The national minimum wage is $7.25 for payroll workers, $2.13 an hour for tipped workers. Under the president’s proposal, the tipped minimum wage would be 70 percent of the payroll minimum wage. In Illinois, the minimum wage is $8.25. The governor is urging lawmakers to raise it to “at least $10.” The tipped minimum wage in Illinois is $4.95 an hour.