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Madigan: 'Strong support' in House for passing minimum wage hike

SPRINGFIELD-Despite no movement so far, House Speaker Michael Madigan expressed optimism Tuesday that his legislative chamber will pass an increase in the minimum wage this spring.

“There’s strong support for the minimum wage in the House,” Madigan said when asked his outlook for passing a minimum-wage hike in the House before the Legislature’s scheduled May 31 adjournment.

Legislation sponsored by Rep. Arthur Turner, D-Chicago, that would raise the state’s $8.25 and hour minimum wage to $10.65 per hour by 2016 has not moved in the House so far this spring despite having 27 co-sponsors.

Gov. Pat Quinn has made the minimum-wage increase a cornerstone of his re-election campaign against Republican private equity investor Bruce Rauner, who has staked out diametrically opposite positions on the issue since last fall.

Saying he was “adamantly, adamantly opposed” to increasing the state’s minimum wage, Rauner suggested rolling back the current rate in Illinois during a candidates forum in December.

In January, Rauner reversed course and outlined a scenario in which he could favor an increase in the wage, so long as it was paired with a series of business-friendly reforms in state workers compensation and tort laws.

“I think it’s a matter of fairness. It’s a matter of equity,” Madigan said. “I think you’ll find the opposition to raising the minimum wage comes from people who have done pretty well in America. For some strange reason, they don’t want others in America to participate in prosperity.”

Asked if he was describing Rauner, Madigan shot back a one-word response before walking away: “Who?”