Voters in Illinois' midterm election overwhelmingly supported raising the state's minimum wage. Although the referendum on the ballot was nonbinding, the public recognized the need for a higher minimum wage that would help working families and boost our local economy. Since the referendum was only used to clarify the public’s position on the issue, we still have to call on our state lawmakers to pass a higher minimum wage into law.
It is an injustice that many minimum wage workers have full-time jobs and still struggle to make ends meet. As a person of faith, I see God's image in every worker and believe that every working family deserves a decent quality of life. In our Scriptures the Hebrew prophets consistently call for just wages and declare God’s displeasure at “those who oppress the hired workers in their wages” (Malachi 3:5). Raising the minimum wage to $10.65 an hour will give an extra $4,992 per year for Illinois residents to spend on vital necessities such as food, gas, rent, and child care.
The fight to eradicate poverty is a moral and communal effort. By raising the state's minimum wage, we are taking a necessary step in alleviating poverty for hundreds of thousands of Illinois residents and their families. This is the kind of “good news” that Jesus was calling for when he quoted the prophet Isaiah in his inaugural sermon (Luke 4:18). A raise to $10.65 an hour would translate to a $2.5 billion boost to our state economy. Raising the minimum wage is good news for everyone!
Join me in urging our lawmakers to listen to the voices of the people of Illinois and raise our state's minimum wage during this fall’s veto session. Illinois cannot afford to wait. We need to hear some good news from Springfield in this holiday season.
Rev. Curtiss DeYoung
Executive Director of Community Renewal Society