NPR Story
4:08 am
Thu December 19, 2013

State Miniumum Wage Either Job Booster Or Job Killer

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 5:50 pm

  As he campaigns for re-election, Governor Pat Quinn is renewing a push for a hike in the minimum wage.

Illinois' $8.25 minimum wage bests the federal rate by a dollar.Gov. Quinn and other Democrats want to raise it higher; the governor's calling it to go up to $10.

"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," he 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.

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