Gov. Pat Quinn issued a statement Wednesday saying he will renew his fight to increase the minimum wage in Illinois.
“Earlier this year, I called for increasing the minimum wage in Illinois to at least $10 an hour and I will continue to work with members of the General Assembly to make it happen,” he said in the release.
According to the National Council of State Legislatures, Illinois has the fourth-highest minimum wage among the states. The current minimum wage of $8.25 is higher than that of all of Illinois’ neighbors.
Patrick Tyrrell, an economist for the Heritage Foundation, said elevating the minimum wage reduces employment for low-skill workers.
“It’s not just the extra payroll that employers have to pay,” he said. “When you factor in payroll taxes, the ObamaCare tax that kicks in in 2015 and other taxes, the employer is actually paying out $12.71 per hour if the minimum wage is $10. If they can’t get $12.71 per hour in productivity from someone they just aren’t going to hire them.”
Also as labor prices go up, employers are more likely to invest in mechanized solutions such as robots as an alternative, said Linda Gorman, an economist at the Independence Institute.
“This is really bad news for low-skill workers. Employers are not going to invest in training them as the cost to employ them goes up,” she said.
Kim Maisch, director of the Illinois chapter of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, said Illinois retailers in border communities are particularly vulnerable.
She noted in communities such as Quincy, the Quad-Cities or the Metro East area, customers may simply cross the state line to buy gasoline or shop because lower wages in neighboring states may mean lower prices for merchandise in those places as well.
“We anticipate this will be a top issue under consideration during the next year by the Legislature,” she said.
Ghosts afloat in Madigan’s district
Is Mike Madigan’s legislative district haunted?
There certainly appear to be plenty of ghost candidates.
Election after election, the seemingly perennial speaker of the House has faced GOP candidates who don’t campaign, don’t raise money or even bother to post a yard sign – in their own yard.
In fact, this is the fourth time since 1998 that Republican Terrence Goggin has run against Madigan.
“We don’t even know who these candidates are,” said Chris Cleveland, vice chairman of the Chicago Republican Party. “When we try to contact them they don’t respond.”
Goggin could not be reached immediately for comment by Illinois News Network. “Ghosts candidates” have a long history in Illinois. Candidates recruit people who really support them to run “against” them in an election.
Both Republicans and Democrats have engaged in the practice.
But Chicago Republicans say Madigan appears to have perfected it to an art form.
“The problem with doing this is that it denies the voters a choice,” Cleveland said.
Madigan spokesman Steve Brown declined to say whether Goggin is a plant, but added he has seen no convincing evidence presented that he is.
Cleveland said the GOP plans to challenge the validity of Goggin’s petitions.
“Take a look at the petitions that were passed to put him on the ballot,” Cleveland said. “There must be a lot of identical twins in that district because it looks like some of the signers had the same handwriting.”