Gov. Quinn pushes minimum wage hike

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SPRINGFIELD — If it’s campaign season and the holidays are here, then it only makes sense Gov. Pat Quinn would channel George Bailey.

In making a push to increase the state’s minimum wage from $8.25 per hour to $10 an hour, Quinn invoked Jimmy Stewart, the late star of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and compared opponents of helping low-wage workers to the villainous, money-grubbing Mr. Potter in that 1946 movie that will soon be in wall-to-wall rotation on television.

“We want a decent society, like Jimmy Stewart said. He wanted Bedford Falls in ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ to take care of your neighbor. And there are folks like Mr. Potter who just want to run people down and grind them down. We don’t believe in that,” Quinn told reporters Wednesday at St. Pius V Church on the city’s Lower West Side.

“Mr. Potter is one of those who probably wouldn’t raise the minimum wage in a million years. But Jimmy Stewart and all of those in Bedford Falls understood how important it was to help your community. The community grows when you help everybody, and I think that’s important in Illinois,” Quinn continued.

“That’s why in this coming year, we want to make sure we talk to all the people in government and run for government and get them on board,” the governor said.

Quinn has long supported raising the minimum wage, which last increased in 2010 when it had been $8 per hour. The issue is an important one to a vital voting bloc, low-earning workers, whom the governor wants to mobilize behind his 2014 re-election bid.

Currently, Washington state has the nation’s highest minimum wage at $9.19 per hour. With its rate of $8.25 per hour, Illinois trails only that state, Oregon and Vermont in having the highest minimum wage in the country.

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