In the race for governor, both candidates say they’re for raising the minimum wage, and that the other guy is against it. Gov. Pat Quinn likes to point out that Bruce Rauner used to tell audiences that there shouldn’t even be a minimum wage, or if there is, it should be the federal wage, which is $1 lower than in Illinois. “My opponent is advocating the elimination of the minimum wage. A person who has all that money that he talks about all the time wants to cut the minimum wage on people doing the hardest job in our society,” Quinn said.
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Rauner says now that he wants to raise the minimum wage, and says if Quinn really wanted to raise it, he already would have done so during his six years as governor. “He’s a phony on the minimum wage. He’s playing political football to make it a political issue in the campaign,” Rauner said. In fact, the minimum wage has gone up three times since Quinn has been governor – to $7.75 in 2009, to $8 in 2010 and to $8.25 in 2011 – but under legislation passed in 2008, before he took office. Quinn says he was active in getting that legislation passed as lieutenant governor, and that he advocated for the previous minimum wage increases, in 2004 and 2005, when he was lieutenant governor.
Quinn pushed for an increase this year, but lawmakers balked, and now we have a non-binding referendum that Quinn supports, hoping it will be the impetus for lawmakers to act.