SALMAGUNDI: Hourly workers deserved our respect before current crisis

Reader rancor over minimum wage from bothersome to infuriating

By Scott T. Holland | March 23, 2020

Last March I used this space to examine the spending power of someone working 40 hours per week on what then was the state’s minimum wage of $8.25 per hour. It’s now $9.25 and will be $10 as of July 1, which yields $20,800 in gross annual income.

By looking at things like local rent costs, utilities, phone and internet access and other basic cost of living expenses, I hoped to demonstrate a disparity between the minimum wage and what it takes to make it on your own in La Salle County without government assistance. In other words, failing to pay a living wage to full-time employees essentially shifts the burden of providing for those workers onto the broader national tax base.

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