CHICAGO (CBS) — Gov. Pat Quinn’s running mate on Thursday was leading the charge over the latest reports Republican challenger Bruce Rauner’s past support for reducing the minimum wage.
WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Paul Vallas called a news conference Thursday morning to slam Rauner’s budget plan, which includes taxing more services. At the event, he seized on recent revelations that Rauner admitted in a radio interview earlier this year that he once supported eliminating the minimum wage altogether. In the same interview, Rauner also said it was ill-advised to focus on the minimum wage when discussing how to improve the state’s business climate.
“I have said, on a number of occasions, that we could have a lower minimum wage or no minimum wage as part of increasing Illinois’ competitiveness. I’ve said that many times,” Rauner told WJBC-AM in January. “It’s a mistake for me to focus on lowering the minimum wage, or eliminating, it because there are better ways to increase Illinois’ competitiveness.”
Vallas, however, said Rauner’s support for lowering the minimum wage is typical of someone who also has proposed expanding the state’s sales tax to include some services.
“The longer this campaign goes on, the more evidence emerges about where Rauner stands on these basic issues; the issues that impact working families,” he said. “This most recent minimum wage revelation, that actually called for the elimination of the minimum wage, I think kind of drives home the point.
The Rauner campaign said he has made it clear he now favors raising the minimum wage in conjunction with some business reforms.
Vallas said Rauner’s shifting stance on the minimum wage has been too little, too late.
“There hasn’t been one instance, but two; and even more instances where he’s either talked about the reduction in the minimum wage, or the elimination of the minimum wage, when – I don’t know – maybe the assumption was people weren’t listening,” Vallas said.
At one point, Vallas said he believes Rauner is too rich to be governor, and too out of touch with voters. He later tried to soften that criticism, but the Rauner campaign seized on that comment, saying they didn’t know income was a requirement for high state office.
The Rauner campaign also pointed to a patronage hiring scandal at the Illinois Department of Transportation as an example of Quinn’s standards.