IL: Chicago Advances Ordinance to Raise Wages

Recently, in our Stateside Dispatch highlighting alternative strategies to raise wages around the country, we highlighted a proposed ordinance with widespread support in Chicago. That proposal -- which raises the bar on wages for large retailers -- has now passed through the city's finance committee and is moving closer to a vote of the full council. The ordinance in question would require large retailers to pay at least $10 an hour in wages and $3 per hour in benefits. Wal-Mart has threatened to not expand into the city if the measure passes. That may be a good thing. In fact, a poll of Chicagoans shows that the measure is backed by 84% of the city's residents. Other opponents of the measure threaten law suits claiming that the measure violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution. Chicagoans may not have much to fear from this claim, though. As we noted in that Dispatch, courts across the country have given a big thumbs up to targeted wage regulations.