Race For Illinois Governor: Taxes And The Minimum Wage

Feb 10, 2014

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn mentioned taxes only once during an address at Illinois State University this weekend. But that was only when discussing the Republican candidates for Governor. Illinois' largest-ever income tax increase is due to sunset half-way through the fiscal year. Quinn is not saying if he'll support continuing the temporary hike. Quinn told McLean County Democrats that the GOP hopefuls like to talk about tax and spending cuts, but don't tell the whole story:

First Row: Bill Brady (R), Kirk Dillard (R), Bruce Rauner (R). Second Row: Dan Rutherford (R), Tio Hardiman (D), Pat Quinn (D)

"They're going to say, 'tax less, spend less.' That's their whole philosophy. Sounds good if you say it fast. But that doesn't create jobs. It doesn't make a better state, it doesn't provide early childhood education," Quinn said.

During his address, Quinn repeated his call for a hike in the minimum wage to at least ten dollars an hour and establishing earned sick days for all Illinois workers. Anti-government activist Tio Hardiman is challenging Quinn.

Two GOP lawmakers hoping to be the next governor also talked about taxes this weekend. Senators Bill Brady and Kirk Dillard spoke about the state's economy during an event sponsored by McLean County Republicans. Brady says if elected he would make sure Illinoisans gets tax cuts. Dillard says he would pursue major tax reforms as part of his economic plan. Businessman Bruce Rauner and state Treasurer Dan Rutherford did not attend.

Meanwhile, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin is criticizing the Republican field of candidates for their stances on low-income workers and the unemployed.

The four Republican candidates for governor oppose raising the minimum wage in Illinois, which is currently $8.25 an hour.

One reason they've given is that mostly high school and college students work minimum wage jobs. Senator Durbin says that isn't so.

"I just can't get over how insensitive some of these candidates are to the reality of life for a lot of struggling families-working families who can't get by on $8.25 an hour," Durbin said.

Durbin singled out the candidate who'd previously called for a decrease in Illinois' minimum wage.

"A man who made $53 million last year is calling for cuts in the minimum wage? He can wear an $18 watch and a Carhartt jacket, but he's not in touch with what people are trying to do to get by if they're on minimum wage," Durbin said.

Sporting that Carhartt is venture capitalist Bruce Rauner. Rauner later publicly changed his stance, and called his earlier remarks "flippant."