1 year, 6 months ago from Associated Press
Current minimum wage is $8.25
Gov. Pat Quinn says he wants to raise Illinois' minimum wage to at least $10 by Christmas of next year.
The Chicago Democrat who's seeking re-election campaigned on the issue in 2010 and mentioned it during his annual address this year.
The minimum wage in Illinois is $8.25. Quinn said Wednesday that raising the wage will help eliminate poverty.
Illinois last raised the minimum wage in 2010. There's legislation pending in Springfield to increase it, including a call for $15 an hour.
However Republicans and business groups say raising the minimum wage kills jobs. Quinn says that claims are flat wrong.
Some business groups have also accused Quinn of trotting out the issue ahead of the 2014 election.
Quinn says it's not a new issue for him.
When we put more purchasing power in the hands of hard-working people, they're not going to admire the money in the bank vault," Quinn says. "They're going to go out and spend that money at stores in their neighborhood, to help that consumer demand, that creates more jobs."
A scenario rebutted by Kim Maisch, with the Illinois chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business. She says Illinois' smaller companies are still struggling as they try to recover from the recession.
"Small business owners only have so many dollars to use on wages, benefits on capital improvements, on trying to expand their business,"Maisch says.
She says a wage that's artificially set by politicians ends up forcing small businesses to cut benefits and hours, and in cases, close up shop. Maisch says Illinois already has one of the nation's highest minimum wages, and it also has one of the nation's highest unemployment rates.
One of Quinn's challengers, Republican Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale, is calling the governor's public push an “election-year stunt.” Dillard says Illinois needs “real jobs” that families can build a life on.