IL Gov. Candidate Sorry For Call To Lower Minimum Wage

The Illinois Republican gubernatorial candidate who said the state’s minimum wage should be lowered is now backtracking.

A day after an interview surfaced in which equity investor Bruce Rauner, one of a handful of Republicans in the gubernatorial race, said that the minimum wage should be lowered by a dollar rather than raised, he backtracked.

“I made a mistake. I was flippant and I was quick,” Rauner said in an interview with The Chicago Tribune. “I should have said, ‘Tie the Illinois minimum wage to the national wage and, in that context, with other changes in being pro-business, I support raising the national minimum wage.’ I’m OK with that.”

Specifically, Rauner argued that Illinois’ minimum wage should be lowered from $8.25 to $7.25. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. That proposal contrasts with calls by Gov. Pat Quinn (D), who Rauner is hoping to replace, to raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour. President Barack Obama and national Democrats have also called on raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.

But going forward, Rauner said he plans to push for linking Illinois minimum wage to the national minimum wage.

“I will advocate moving the Illinois minimum wage back to the national minimum wage,” Rauner said. “I think we’ve got to be competitive here in Illinois. It’s critical we’re competitive. We’re hurting our economy by having the minimum wage above the national. We’ve got to move back to the national.”

Rauner’s three opponents in the Republican primary, state Sen. Bill Brady, Illinois state Treasurer Dan Rutherford and Kirk Dillard, do not support raising the minimum wage but have not argued that it should be lowered.

The Democratic Governors Association (DGA) was quick to bash Rauner, even after he apologized.

“They say a gaffe is when a politician tells the truth. In the case of Bruce Rauner, he showed his true colors when he said that Illinois’ minimum wage needs to be cut,” DGA spokesman Danny Kanner said in a statement. “Only a right-wing billionaire would think it’s right to take thousands of dollars a year from working people who live on the brink of poverty. Forget his insincere apology today – the real Bruce Rauner would force thousands of Illinoisans into poverty if he had the chance, and voters won’t soon forget.”

The Sun-Times reported that Rauner’s income was $53 million in 2012.

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Latest Livewire
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporters:
Newswriters:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: