Governor Defends Plan To Hike Minimum Wage To $10 Per Hour

CHICAGO (CBS) — Gov. Pat Quinn got some help Thursday morning as he defended his plan to increase the state’s minimum wage to $10 an hour over the next four years.

WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports business groups like the Illinois Retail Merchants Association and the Illinois Chamber of Commerce have said a higher minimum wage would force some companies to lay off workers.

But Katrina Markoff, CEO of Logan Square-based Vosges Haut-Chocolat said otherwise.

“We do welcome that. In fact, we try to pay more than minimum wage everywhere we can. It’s really important for us to create this family environment here, and really support the staff that we have,” she said.

Markoff joined the governor on Thursday to announce she’s expanding the company, and hiring more employees, thanks to some state help.

“I want to salute Katrina, and all of the employers of Illinois who understand that a growing economy means that we have to pay a decent wage to those workers who make that productivity possible,” he said.

Quinn defended his call for a higher minimum wage, and quoted the late John F. Kennedy as saying “a rising tide lifts all boats.”

“He didn’t say ‘a rising tide lifts all yachts,’ he said ‘all boats,’” Quinn said. “I think it’s important we understand that we have a half million or more people in Illinois who work at the minimum wage; and giving them a modest raise over the next four years is good for our economy. It will create jobs.”

The governor said, when people make more money, they spend more with local businesses, and the economy benefits from the higher demand for goods and services.

A $10 per hour minimum wage in Illinois would be the highest in the nation. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the current $8.25 per hour minimum wage in Illinois is tied for fourth behind Vermont ($8.60 per hour) Oregon ($8.95 per hour) and Washington ($9.19 per hour).

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