* So, does Bruce Rauner really believe in raising the minimum wage? Or is this just a position of convenience to allow him to escape the perils of his previous demands to cut the wage by a dollar an hour?
We may gain some further insight into Rauner’s thinking from this audio clip. Rauner appeared on Springfield-area tea party leader Fritz Pfister’s WMAY radio program in September. Have a listen…
* In case you can’t listen, here’s the exchange…
PFISTER: “Will raising the minimum wage actually help the people it’s intended to help, or will it harm them?”
RAUNER: “No, it’s a very bad idea, it’s a terrible idea.
“We’ve already got one of the highest unemployment rates in America, in fact the second highest of any state and far and away the worst unemployment rate in the Midwest.
“And raising the minimum wage will only devastate job opportunities for young people and lower income folks that need jobs first and foremost, rather than try to force businesses and interfere in pay scales that are competitive that allow businesses to thrive and hire people.”
He really needs to explain why he can now support raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour when he claimed it would “devastate” job opportunities and how he was previously so against “interfering” in pay scales. Yes, he says he wants to couple that hike with business-friendly law changes, but what, exactly does he want to do? And how realistic are his ideas?
* Meanwhile, a Tribune story cuts down Rauner’s attempt to explain away his position on lowering the minimum wage by saying it was just a “flippant” remark…
Though Rauner sought to indicate he was rushed in giving an inarticulate answer at the Quad Cities forum, Rauner and his three foes for the March 18 GOP nomination had been provided the questions in advance, according to an email sent to the campaigns by the event’s organizers.
* Also, here is how the Quad City Times reported on that December candidates’ forum where Rauner said he wanted a cut in the minimum wage…
The four candidates got mostly business-centered questions. All opposed an increase in the minimum wage
* The Dispatch did pick up on it, but buried it near the end of its story…
The candidates agreed that taxes and regulations need to be cut, and oppose efforts to raise the minimum wage. Mr. Rauner went further than his rivals on the minimum wage by saying it should be cut.
The minimum wage in Illinois is $8.25 but Mr. Rauner said it should be cut to the federal rate of $7.25 to make the state more competitive in attracting jobs.
Gov. Quinn wants to raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour and argues that the $8.25 rate is insufficient to keep workers out of poverty.
What a difference a month makes, eh?
And it should be noted that while Rauner’s Republican opponents whacked him but good this week for proposing to cut the minimum wage, they were standing right there on the same podium with him in December when he initially made the remarks and didn’t utter a peep.
* In other news, Mayor Emanuel jumped on the bandwagon…
“And I think the idea that anybody would even cross the mind of thinking about reducing it when the idea should be about how to expand it, strengthen it and make sure all of the other types of investments from health care to college costs are affordable and accessible to middle class families,” Emanuel said. “And the idea that you would reduce it is actually an idea that looks backwards and actually takes us down.”
* And in other news…
[Steve Shearer], the treasurer and chair of a new committee aimed raise money to combat Rauner, said he could have launched a C-4 SuperPAC where donors would have been shielded. Instead, he has an independent expenditure committee where he will promote transparency.
“My effort is designed to be 1000 percent transparent,” Shearer told the Sun-Times. “It’s an independent expenditure committee. I have nothing to hide about this. This is all about informing Republican voters about the whole Bruce Rauner. Obviously, we’re in a Democracy and we want to provide voters with information to vote. It’s up to them to do what they want with it to the degree they find it credible.”