House Speaker Michael Madigan plans Friday to push a plan to ask voters this fall to decide whether Illinois’ lowest-earning workers deserve an increase in pay. […]
Madigan’s legislation is posted for a Friday morning hearing in Springfield. Brown said a floor vote on the measure likely will come next week. […]
As much as Madigan is seeking input from voters on the question, his push also could help spur turnout in the Democratic Party base and help Quinn in what is a tight re-election bid against Bruce Rauner.
The referendum also keeps alive what key Democrats believe is a potent campaign weapon against Rauner, the multimillionaire private equity investor who has waffled on the question of whether to require employers put more in the pockets of Illinois’ lowest wage earners.
Under the measure, voters could voice their opinion on whether the minimum wage in Illinois for adults over the age of 18 should be raised to $10 an hour by Jan. 1. With the first-of-the-year trigger date, the referendum could place the matter on the legislative agenda in the post-election fall veto session, since it’s unlikely to pass before lawmakers go home at month’s end. […]
Democratic Sen. Kim Lightford of Maywood said approval of a referendum could help her bid to pass a minimum wage hike in the Senate, where she believes she is a couple of votes shy of the 30 needed to pass. The idea of a referendum gained currency as Madigan, who doubles as Illinois Democratic Party chairman, and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., suggested the issue should go before the general public to build support, Lightford said.
As we’ve discussed before, this is a “win-win” for Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton. They avoid a fight-to-the-death showdown with groups like the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, put Bruce Rauner on the spot by making this a campaign issue and maybe gin up a little turnout in November.
*** UPDATE 1 *** From Dave McKinney…
*** UPDATE 2 *** Both unclear on the concept. Sun-Times…
Madigan got into a testy exchange with one Republican on the panel, state Rep. Jeanne Ives, R-Wheaton, who opposes his plan and justified her position from observations she collected as a tax preparer for eight years.
“I can assure you that I have done a number…of tax returns for people at the bottom and when it’s all said and done — when you take into account all the public benefits they’re receiving — they receive an inordinate amount, well over their amount in earned income, in benefits back from the government,” Ives told Madigan. “There is a safety net already in place, and I personally think this is…anti-business.”
Madigan appeared to grow angry at Ives’ statement.
“I don’t think you should use the word ‘inordinate’ when you’re talking about people who are on government benefits. They don’t want to be on government benefits. They want a job where they can earn a living, support their family, live a nice life. So please,” Madigan continued, his voice rising, “don’t use the word ‘inordinate’ when people are on government benefits. They don’t want to have the benefits.”
Madigan missed Rep. Ives’ point. She was talking about the working poor, not the unemployed. Notice Ives mentioned “earned income.”
But Ives also missed the point. Those workers are on government benefits because they don’t make much money. And so those government benefits are acting as a direct subsidy of the businesses which employ workers at sub-par wages and don’t offer full-time employment. Ives is basically arguing to continue that government subsidy.