Governor Pat Quinn today visited Gap to salute their move to raise the company's minimum wage as he fights to raise the minimum wage in Illinois. Earlier this year, Gap Inc. announced it would raise its minimum wage to $10 for all U.S. employees in 2015, a move that impacts 65,000 American workers, including 4,000 in Illinois. Governor Quinn first proposed raising the minimum wage in his 2013 State of the State address and today's event with Gap is part of his commitment to build an economy that works for everyone.
"Gap Inc. is leading the pack in raising the minimum wage to build an economy that works for everyone," Governor Quinn said. "Hardworking men and women in Gap stores all over Illinois will benefit from this increase. Illinois and the rest of the nation should follow Gap's good example."
The Illinois minimum wage is currently $8.25, less than half of the average U.S. hourly wage. A full-time minimum wage worker in Illinois makes approximately $17,000 annually, which is well below the Federal Poverty Threshold of $19,790 for a family of three. Six in 10 minimum wage employees are women, including many single parents.
The Governor supports raising Illinois' minimum wage over the next two years. By increasing the Illinois minimum wage to $10 an hour, a half-million Illinois consumers will make an extra $4,800 a year and much of that extra income will typically be spent at local businesses on food, clothing and furniture, providing a strong boost to the local economy.
Last month, Governor Quinn met with President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and senior administration officials at the White House in Washington, D.C. to discuss raising the minimum wage. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour and President Obama is pushing to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10.
Studies conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago show that an increase of $1 in the minimum wage generates approximately $3,000 in household spending per year, greatly improving purchasing power and strengthening our economy. Nearly two-thirds of small business owners support raising the federal minimum wage because they believe it will help the economy and in turn enable them to hire more workers, according to a recent survey conducted by the Small Business Majority.