IL representative pushes for $15 per hour minimum wage - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

IL representative pushes for $15 per hour minimum wage

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JACKSON CO. - A Chicago lawmaker stopped in Carbondale to gather support for pushing the Illinois minimum wage to $15 an hour.

State Representative Will Guzzardi claims his bill "would generate billions of dollars in new revenue and ease the budget crisis."

Southern Illinoisans worked up hoping to provide workers like Ashley Boyer a $15 minimum wage.

"I'm just one of those people who makes under $17,000 a year. I have four kids and it's just not enough," said Boyer.

Supporters of House Bill 198 say raising the minimum wage could bring more than $2 million Illinois workers like Boyer out of poverty.

"There are too many of us here who cannot make our bills each month," she said.

It's an issue Republicans and Democrats have been split on for some time.

"Those in favor of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour in Illinois by 2022 say the current minimum wage of $8.25 is too low for a worker to live on. Those against it say raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour would force businesses to lay off workers or even close.

Regardless, IL State Representative Will Guzzardi says he's hopeful his bill will land on Governor Bruce Rauner's desk.

"Does he choose to side with the 2.3 million people in this state who need a raise, or does he choose to side with the interest of the big corporations? It's going to be a black or white choice and we're going to see it very clearly," said Guzzardi.

In the past, Governor Rauner has supported a smaller minimum wage increase over a longer period of time.

But those at Thursday's conference say southern Illinoisans have felt the burden for too long.

"You take low income areas like Cairo that they're shutting down. They're going to take that and remove it and leave 300 people without a home," said Guzzardi.

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