Gov. Quinn Pushes For Minimum Wage Hike in QCA - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Gov. Quinn Pushes For Minimum Wage Hike in QCA

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Labor Day is traditionally a time to honor American workers. For Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, who spent part of the day in the QCA, it was a time to push for higher wages for many of those workers.

The Democrat is pushing for a nearly two dollar increase in the state's minimum wage.

Right now, minimum wage in Illinois is $8.25 an hour.

That's a dollar more than minimum wage in Iowa. $7.25 is also the current federal rate.

But, Quinn wants to see Illinois' rate raised to $10 and hour.

And, on Monday, he was working to sell that idea to members of his own party:

"We have got to make sure our party stands up for those fundamental core priorities, and there's no more important priority than a J.O.B." Quinn said in a speech at Illiniwek park, as part of the Rock Island County Democratic Committee's annual Labor Day Picnic.

This was one of a number of stops around the state for Governor Quinn in recent days, pushing for an increase in Illinois' minimum wage.

"I think it should be $10 an hour and I'm going to fight with every fiber of my being in the next year to make that possible," Quinn said.

That may be an uphill fight.

Opponents of the move, including many Republicans and business leaders, say a minimum wage hike would kill jobs, because having to pay employees more will mean being able to pay fewer employees at that rate.

Governor Quinn says that's not so. He says raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour would mean $4,800 more a year for half a million Illinois consumers:

"They're not going to mire money in the bank vault, they're going to spend it in the local community on local businesses and it creates new jobs."

Voters we talked to were divided on the issue:

"I believe it's a good idea," said Louis Streit, who was camping out for Labor Day a few hundred yards from the Democrats' picnic.

"It kind of hurts," said Rochelle Taylor, who was also camping out near by.

Like so many other people, Taylor has had her same job for decades, and says she's worked hard for the raises she's earned over the years.

"And we have people that don't know the experience of that, and they'll be walking in the door making $2, $2.50 less than I am after 21 years," she said.

Still, other's who were camping out here say a higher minimum wage is a must:

"People need to get a raise so they can make a living," Streit explained.

Illinois last raised its minimum wage in 2010.