Illinois gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner is calling for a $1-an-hour cut in the state’s minimum wage, a move Democrats describe as “class warfare” targeting the state’s working poor.
Rauner, who would decrease the minimum wage from $8.25 to $7.25 if elected governor, insisted that the change would foster competition.
“I will advocate moving the Illinois minimum wage back to the national minimum wage,” Rauner said during a local radio broadcast report. “I think we’ve got to be competitive here in Illinois.”
The unusual stand puts Rauner at odds with the other three Republicans who plan to compete in the gubernatorial primary. Though Rauner’s competitors are uninterested in raising the state’s minimum wage, they have no interest in lowering it.
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Rauner is even more unlike current Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, who wants to raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour.
“We’re talking about people who are cleaning and busing tables, people who are caring for our elderly, people who are working in support of people with disabilities,” Quinn said. “To take $2,000 a year from those who are earning minimum wage is not only cruel and shameful, it also hurts our economy.”
Democrat Rep. Lou Lang criticized Rauner for the move on Tuesday, noting that he had seen plenty of anti-poverty plans but never pro-poverty plans.
Lang added that Rauner must be “delusional” if he believes the General Assembly would agree to the change, and that the age of robber barons has ended.