Bill could raise minimum wage, benefiting Rockford workers

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- Backers of a $15 minimum wage in Illinois unveil new research that suggests Rockford would benefit more than any other major metropolitan area in the state if House Bill 198 becomes law.

According to research from the University of Illinois about 47% of all Rockford workers, about 60,000 in total, earn less than $15 per hour.

Carbondale is the only other Illinois city to reach more than 40%.

More than one in five Rockford workers make less than $10 per hour.

Those in favor of a minimum wage hike say doing so would generate much needed state and local tax revenue and it would cut the amount needed to spend on public assistance for underpaid workers.

Opponents of a minimum wage hike say increasing the costs of labor will reduce the demand for labor creating more unemployment, especially among low skilled workers. State Representative Litesa Wallace says House Bill 198 helps alleviate that problem through tax relief to small businesses.