Quinn, Brady on Illinois’ minimum wage

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The rhetoric in the race for Illinois governor heated up Wednesday when Gov. Pat Quinn accused his Republican rival, state Sen. Bill Brady, of wanting to slash Illinois’ minimum wage.

CHICAGO (AP) — The rhetoric in the race for Illinois governor heated up Wednesday when Gov. Pat Quinn accused his Republican rival, state Sen. Bill Brady, of wanting to slash Illinois’ minimum wage.
But Quinn overstates Brady’s past comments, while Brady has created confusion by trying to finesse his views.
Here’s a look at what the candidates have said and how those statements line up with the facts:
CLAIM: "I don’t think we need a governor who thinks the best way to grow jobs is to slash the minimum wage on hardworking people," Quinn said of Brady.
THE FACTS: The Illinois minimum wage of $8.25 an hour is $1 higher than the federal rate. Brady has said Illinois is at a competitive disadvantage when its minimum wage is higher than the federal level, which is used by other states.
The question is what, if anything, Brady would do to change that if he’s elected governor.
His statements have been confusing.
In June, he said he supported "equaling, adopting the federal minimum wage" — a position that implied he would cut the state rate. He and his staff quickly said that wasn’t what he meant.
They said Brady meant that Illinois should freeze its minimum wage until the federal level climbed to $8.25 and there was no longer a mismatch.
Brady repeated that position this week.
"Let’s be real, the minimum wage is not going to be reduced. The General Assembly will not do that," Brady said Monday at a Chicago steel company.
"I’m not going to elevate it beyond (the current rate). We need to rest it there and let the federal wage catch up with us so we level the playing field," he said.
That hasn’t kept Quinn from saying Brady still wants to cut wages. He accused Brady of "trying to backtrack and confuse people."
Quinn says the bottom-line is that he has backed increasing the state minimum wage while Brady voted against the idea as a legislator.
Since 2007, Illinois’ minimum wage has increased from $6.50 under a step-up program pushed by then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

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