* I told subscribers about this possibility weeks ago. From the AP…
With Illinois Democrats struggling to find enough votes to increase the state’s minimum wage, some lawmakers are quietly proposing a less-contentious plan that would ask voters what they think of the idea before the legislature tries to pass a politically risky bill.
But state Sen. Kimberly Lightford, who is sponsoring the proposal to hike the minimum wage from $8.25 to $10.65 per hour, says putting a nonbinding resolution on the November ballot would only be a “last resort.” Some Democrats in swing suburban and downstate districts have joined Republicans in resisting the effort amid fears that companies would lay off workers or hire fewer new ones. […]
“Unemployment hasn’t come down the way I think it should in Illinois, and I don’t think (higher minimum wage) is going to help move that agenda forward,” [Democratic state Sen. John Sullivan] said. “I’m conflicted on it. It’s a tough issue. But given the current situation, that’s why I wouldn’t support it.”
John Jackson, a political science professor at Southern Illinois University, said although increasing the minimum wage makes sense as a talking point for Democrats on the state and national levels, “I haven’t heard a heard a single (southern Illinois) area legislator salute the idea. […]
After being pulled from consideration during committee three times this spring, the Senate Executive Committee approved a minimum wage increase late last month and is awaiting a floor vote.
As you already know, House Speaker Michael Madigan said last week that he didn’t yet have enough votes rounded up on the issue.
* A recent poll found that 63 percent of Illinoisans favor increasing the minimum wage to $10 an hour. So, if the Democrats can’t pass the bill on their own, they could still use a non-binding referendum to drive some base voters to the polls this November. If such a proposal passes, it would be a political “win-win.” The Democrats would get another favorable issue onto the ballot and business would get a reprieve from a minimum wage hike this year.