Van Pelt on minimum wage increase: It’s about time

Published: Monday, July 06, 2020 10:09 AM

paycheck 070620CHICAGO – July 1 marked the second phase of Illinois’ minimum wage increase, which State Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) said will help workers as they navigate the complications of life during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Working class citizens have been waiting for their fair due for too long,” Van Pelt said. “People should not have to worry about earning a reasonable income, especially during a global pandemic.”

Starting this month, the state’s minimum wage increases to $10 per hour. This is the second in a series of increases required by a law passed in 2019 (the first was back in January at $9.25 an hour). The wage will continue to increase by $1 every Jan. 1 until 2025, when it reaches $15 per hour.

Communities like Cook County and Chicago have already set higher minimum wages. The city of Chicago’s minimum wage also increased on July 1 to $13.50 per hour for small employers (those with four to 20 employees) and $14 per hour for large employers (those with 21 or more employees).

Carol Washington, a workforce coordinator in the 5th District, says this increase is long overdue.

“The minimum wage we’ve been forced to work under has not provided a livable wage for many,” Washington said. “It’s very difficult when your wage remains the same while the cost of living is going up and up.”

Washington also addressed the pushback from business leaders who have advocated for the bill to be rescinded due to the pandemic and its associated financial adversities:

“Businesses get bailed out all the time. People don’t,” Washington said. “While I do empathize with them, the rest of us often get left behind. When things were good, when there was prosperity – we were not thought of. Now is the time for them to put their feet to the fire and continue moving in the right direction.”

Castro to reopen district office July 6

Published: Monday, July 06, 2020 09:47 AM

castro office 070620ELGIN – After being closed for nearly three months out of health and safety concerns amid the COVID-19 pandemic, State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) announced plans to reopen her district office July 6, with a few restrictions.

“The pandemic has put a lot of things on hold, but one thing it hasn’t is the need for people in my district to seek the sort of help that our office is uniquely able to provide,” Castro said. “With all areas of the state having moved into Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan, I believe that now is the time we can safely reopen and start providing constituent services face-to-face.”

Castro’s district office is located at 164 Division Street, Suite 102 at The Professional Building in Elgin. The office will be open for its normal business hours, 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. from Monday to Friday. Meetings, however, will be allowed by appointment only. Visitors will be required to wear masks at all times, and social distancing must be maintained for the duration of the meetings. Castro’s satellite office in Hanover Park will remain closed.

“Above all else, our top concern remains the health and safety of everyone while we ride out the coronavirus storm together,” Castro said.

To request an appointment, please send a message or call 847-214-8864.

Bush: Free credit checks available amid COVID-19 crisis

Published: Thursday, July 02, 2020 11:47 AM

credit score 070220GRAYSLAKE — In an effort to help people focus on their finances after months of economic disparities caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, State Senator Melinda Bush (Grayslake) is highlighting a number of free credit reporting websites. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic put unforeseen financial burdens on many families,” Bush said. “Credit reporting websites can be expensive, but it’s important to know your credit score. However, there are many free resources available, and I encourage people to take advantage of them.”

Bertino-Tarrant: New Small Business Development Center opens in Joliet

Published: Thursday, July 02, 2020 10:18 AM

smallbiz 070220PLAINFIELD — To help businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic through the process of applying for state and federal emergency assistance programs, a new Small Business Development Center opened at the Joliet Junior College, Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Plainfield) announced Thursday.

“Businesses across the state have experienced unprecedented financial challenges during the pandemic,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Many hardworking business owners are still learning how to bounce back, and the centers will provide them with the help and support they need.”

Following months of business losses during the public health crisis, seven new Small Business Development Centers were created across the state to support small businesses during the reopening process.

The Joliet-based center, along with all new and existing centers across the state, will be available to help support businesses with applications for the newest relief programs introduced by the state — known as the Business Interruption Grants Program and the Rebuild Distressed Communities programs.

For more information on the Joliet center and others throughout the state, people can click here.

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