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Panel Recommends $13 Minimum Wage in Chicago

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said to fully support proposal by the Minimum Wage Working Group

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Panel Recommends $13 Minimum Wage in Chicago

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A panel has recommended that Chicago raise its minimum wage to $13 an hour.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel asked the Minimum Wage Working Group to research the issue. Panel members on Monday said the higher minimum wage should be phased in over four years.

The group said the higher wages would increase earnings for about 410,000 people -- or 31 percent of Chicago workers -- and inject nearly $800 million into the Chicago economy.

Emanuel spokeswoman Kelley Quinn says the mayor "fully supports the group's balanced proposal."

The Illinois minimum wage is currently $8.25 an hour and the federal minimum wage is $7.25. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has said he supports raising the state's minimum wage to $10 per hour.

Quinn's Republican challenger in the upcoming gubernatorial race, Bruce Rauner, said in January he's "comfortable" with a $10 an hour minimum wage. In June he said his support would only come if several pro-business concessions are made.

Opponents maintain an increase could negatively affect workers by forcing businesses to cut jobs, especially for younger workers. The panel report said the wage increase could raise prices by up to 2 percent.

The Minimum Wage Working Group recommended the Chicago City Council hold off on any action to increase the city's minimum wage until after the November election. Legislative attempts to raise the minimum wage have failed but the Illinois General Assembly is set to again take up the issue after the election.

Voters will see a non-binding question on their ballots asking if they believe the state's minimum wage should be raised to $10 per hour.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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