The Cook County Commission’s vote Wednesday to raise the minimum wage county-wide likely eliminates one potential campaign issue in next year’s muncipal election in Evanston.

Evanston aldermen had been notably silent on the minimum wage issue as demonstrators pressed for an increase around the country and held at least one rally on the issue this year here.

The county measure, sponsored by Commissioner Larry Suffredin of Evanston, would raise the minimum from $8.25 now to $13 by 2020. Supporters estimate that 200,000 people in suburban Cook County now earn no more than the mimimum wage.

The City of Chicago nearly two years ago passed a minimum wage increase that will raise pay for workers in the city to $13 by 2019.

The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce says the increase would put employers in Cook County at a competitive disadvantage with ones elsewhere in the metro area where the minimum wage is lower.

Home rule municipalities like Evanston could vote to opt out of the county’s pay hike plan, but given the generally liberal sentiments on the City Council, a move to do that is seen as unlikely.

Suffredin says he’d prefer to see state-wide action to raise the minimum wage, but a bill to do that has been bottled up in the legislature for years.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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    1. Wage hikes

      Minimum goes to $10 an hour next July, then increases by a dollar an hour each year in July until reaching $13 in July 2020.

      — Bill

  1. The beat goes on
    I bet you dollars to donuts Democrat Larry Suffredin NEVER started or owned a small business.

    And most of those earning minimum wage have just entered the workforce, most of whom are teenagers.

    Suffredin is a registered lobbyist and as Cook county commissioner voted in 2008 to uphold a Cook County sales tax hike that is now the largest sales tax in America. Yeah!!!

    It’s a big risk starting a small business in Evanston and Cook County. That’s for sure. And the beat goes.

    1. Average age of a minimum wage

      Average age of a minimum wage worker is 35:

      Also, those employees that would benefit, are not just those that are making exactly $8.25, but all those that make less than $13 (which would push the average age even higher).

      If your small business is being indirectly subsidized by your fulltime employees having to be on medicaid and other governement safety net programs, perhaps you should consider making a better business plan. And to preemptively respond to your likely next ad hominem attack, yes, I have run a small business before…

      1. Who do you think you’re fooling?

        The link you provided quoted union leaders. The unions are pushing for higher minimum wage. Yep, they're unbiased. And you can slice and dice the stats to prove any point. According to the Pew Research, most people who earn minimum wage are under 24 (which makes way more sense than the average age you cite). Here's what it says in part – People at or below the federal minimum are: Disproportionately young: 50.4% are ages 16 to 24; 24% are teenagers (ages 16 to 19). Mostly (77%) white; nearly half are white women. Largely part-time workers (64% of the total). According to another study, 63 percent of workers who earn less than $9.50 per hour (well over the minimum wage of $7.25) are the second or third earner in their family and 43 percent of these workers live in households that earn over $50,000 per year. Thus, minimum wage earners are not a uniformly poor and struggling group; many are teenagers from middle class families and many more are sharing the burden of providing for their families, not carrying the load all by themselves. I love your, "you didn't build that" comment. Businesses pay all kinds of taxes that should be enough to cover the safety nets, including Medicaid, which, BTW, is poorly run and extremely wasteful. I wonder, Did you run that business when Suffredin and the Democrats raised the sales to the highest rate in the nation? Did you have it after Obamacare was passed? Businesses are getting crushed by Obamacare. Under Obamacare, companies that employ 50 or more full-time workers must provide health benefits that meet higher standards than were required before the law’s passage or pay a $2,000-per-worker fine to the IRS. As we all know, the health insurance rates are skyrocketing under Obamacare. I do know you didn't have your business when these Cook County Democrats just raised the minimum wage. Don't forget, Illinois leads the nation in population decline. Who do you think you're fooling, kiddo?

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