But Madigan spokesman Steve Brown said he did not believe the speaker had taken a position.
Currie, Madigan’s top lieutenant, plans to sponsor the minimum wage hike in the House if it passes the Senate. “I’m hopeful the governor will be able to put some might behind his words, and we’ll see,” Currie said.
Still, questions remain about the hurdles the issue would face.
Democratic Skokie Rep. Lou Lang, also on Madigan’s leadership team, said raising the minimum wage is a “tough issue to move in these times. We’re going to say to employers, ‘Well, we’re going to bump up your personnel costs’…. It’s a difficult sell, but it’s a discussion we should have.”
Lang offered that “maybe $10 an hour is not the right number. Or maybe it is the right number, but we can’t afford to do it as quickly as we would like. We have to think this through and not just accept a number given to us in a speech. We have to see some facts, some figures, but mostly requires some negotiation and some leadership.”
That’s not the kind of leadership the National Federation of Independent Business would welcome, said state director Kim Clarke Maisch.
She said the state already has the 4th highest minimum wage in the nation, and the increase would push the state to No. 1. Currently, the state of Washington owns the highest minimum wage at $9.19 per hour, according to U.S. Department of Labor data.
Illinois is surrounded entirely by states with lower minimum wage rates, putting Illinois and its businesses at a disadvantage, she said.
Maisch said Quinn’s proposal to hike the minimum wage now is “ill-timed and frankly wrong."
After his speech, Quinn said he believed the prospects of getting the minimum wage hike passed are “pretty good.”
As he descended the Capitol steps next to the House chamber, Quinn added: “ I think the people are for it.”