News Local/State

Quinn Approves Minimum Wage Ballot Question


Governor Pat Quinn Sunday signed off on a plan to let voters weigh in on whether Illinois' minimum wage ought to be raised to 10 dollars an hour. 

The issue is non-binding. But Quinn and other Democrats say it'll give them support to move the idea through the Legislature.

“You know, when people work from paycheck to paycheck, they ought to have a decent paycheck to support their family on," Gov. Quinn said in Sunday's signing ceremony.  "That’s what our movement’s all about."

But critics say this is just an attempt to increase Democratic turnout at the polls.

The party's turnout is generally stronger in presidential election years. That’s been particularly true in Illinois, what with Chicago’s own President Obama leading the ticket two years ago.

Mid-term elections, like this year’s, are thought to favor Republicans.

Enter the referenda: the minimum wage question is one of four that seem tailor made to appeal to Democrats.

Asked about this, Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan demurred, saying all kinds of people could be motivated to vote on the minimum wage.

“I think it’s the type of question that’s going to encourage all voters to come to the polling place, for and against that particular question," he said.

Others seemingly Democratic questions have to do with voting rights, a new tax on millionaires, and access to birth control.

Of course, the proposal to impose term limits on lawmakers and increase the power of the governor is being led by the Republican’s leading man this year: gubernatorial nominee Bruce Rauner, who significantly bankrolled the effort.

In all, there could be as many as seven questions on the November ballot.