Minimum Wage, Birth Control, Millionaire's Tax: The Purpose Of Today's Advisory Referenda

Nov 4, 2014

There are three statewide referenda on the ballot today in Illinois.

Credit Flickr user / kristin_a (Meringue Bake Shop) "Vote!" (CC BY 2.0)

One asks if the Illinois minimum wage should be raised to 10 dollars an hour for adults. Another, if health insurance plans should be required to cover birth control. The final referendum is on the so-called millionaire’s tax, which would impose an additional three percent tax on income greater than a million dollars.

These are all advisory referenda -- meaning they don’t actually require any action by the government no matter how they shake out. Pollster Gregg Durham says they’re really meant to increase voter turnout.

"This is one of those years where there’s a lot of ballot initiatives that were passed in the Illinois General Assembly and one of the things they were trying to do is to find reasons for people to come vote."

But Loyola University professor Alan Gitelson (GET-il-sin) says these referenda reflect the concerns of Illinois voters.

"So while they may be political it doesn’t mean that they are necessarily bad."

A poll by the Chicago Tribune found about 70 percent of voters support raising the minimum wage and almost 60 percent are in favor of a millionaire’s tax.