Monday, July 13, 2009

Senator Dan Rutherford, running for Illinois State Treasurer, argues the high Illinois minimum wage causes job loss in Illinois.

State Senator Dan Rutherford [R-Pontiac] is holding several media availabilities upstate and downstate today to discuss the official start of his campaign for State Treasurer in the 2010 Republican Primary. His press release states, “In addition to being a good steward of the resources in the Treasury, I intend to use the position as a bully pulpit for jobs in Illinois.”

Answering a question this morning from another journalist, on a telephone conference media availability as to how a State Treasurer would be involved with increasing the number of jobs in Illinois, Senator Rutherford elaborated on how he might use the bully pulpit of the State Treasurer’s office to criticize government policies that he believes cause job loss in Illinois.

The State Treasurer's bully pulpit to promote job growth and avoid job loss.

State Senator Dan Rutherford: [I will] be an advocate for [jobs]—highlighting areas that are problems that our government has brought on to help slow down job growth and I’m going to give you an example…a very prominent business owner [based in Champaign, IL] that operates nationally …in a very successful food business. At a time when Illinois looked to raise their minimum wage, he called me up and said Dan, do you realize that by Government mandating the increase in the minimum wage—that you know I pay my people minimum wage-- but that bumps the whole thing of supervisors- all the way up [and] we can’t raise our prices to keep up with these government mandates. This person told me [this] directly and I said, “May I use this story,” and he said, “Absolutely, you can.” He was ready to open thirty stores in the State of Illinois. He moved them to Indiana. He never did open them here in the State of Illinois. So, there is an example, right there, where a government mandate has affected job growth in the State of Illinois. And, as the State Treasurer, to be able to use the bully pulpit to say, hey, wait a minute, policy makers in Springfield or City of Chicago, County of Cook, wherever you may be…what you’re doing is going to hamper and harm job growth. It is going to be using the platform that one has as a State-wide Constitutional Officer… [Ed. note: Illinois is tied with three other states for the 4th highest state minimum wage in the country at $8:00 per hour; the federal minimum wage is $6.55 and is scheduled to increase to $7:25 later this month. Employers in a state are legally required to pay the higher of that state’s minimum wage or the federal minimum wage].
Losing Jimmy John jobs to Indiana.

Jeff Berkowitz: Dan, did you give the name of the [business owner] you mentioned about the minimum wage and the name of the business he owns?

Senator Rutherford: No, I did not.

Jeff Berkowitz: It sounded like you said he authorized you to do that. I just wondered if you could give that information.

Senator Rutherford: Authorized to tell the story. I don’t think he would mind using the name but I would prefer not to.

Jeff Berkowitz: Okay.

Senator Rutherford: I just, no, you know what- I’m sure he won’t care. It’s Jimmy John's.

Jeff Berkowitz: Jimmy-John. Okay. And, what’s the owner’s name?

Senator Rutherford: Jimmy [John] Liautaud.

Jeff Berkowitz: Okay, thanks.

Senator Rutherford: …he told me I could. I just wanted to make sure I was thinking through our conversation so I didn’t breach any sense of confidence. It’s a true story. Jimmy called me up…and said, “You know, I pay my people minimum wage but this is a government mandate and I can’t just go raise the price of my sandwiches to keep up with that.” And, he had thirty stores that they were preparing to be put online in Illinois and he’s now in the process, if not having already, opened them in Indiana.

Jeff Berkowitz: How much does that hurt you when you raise that issue of the minimum wage with trying to get union support for your campaign?

Senator Rutherford: I’m not sure that unions are necessarily out trying to get minimum wage jobs. I think what unions are trying to do, for all the right reasons, [is] to make sure that employees are treated fairly and we have jobs out there to begin with. The whole issue between unions and labor and management and right now unemployment and tough times with social services and government spending—all of this gets down to jobs…you look at the unemployment rate, men and women, of the counties …where you are from—those unemployment rates are abundantly high. And, what I am not hearing from anyone in any of the levels of our Democratic controlled government is a true advocacy of what we’re talking about-- for jobs. And, somebody needs to blow the whistle on what’s going on. And, yes I try to do it as a State Senator…but I’ll tell you what, your microphone is a lot bigger and louder when you’re a statewide constitutional officer and I intend to do that as the chief financial officer of the State of Illinois.
Jeff Berkowitz, Show Host/Producer of "Public Affairs," and Executive Legal Recruiter doing legal search can be reached at *************************************************************
"Public Affairs," is a weekly political interview show airing in Chicago on CANTV, in the Chicago metro area, Aurora and Rockford on Comcast and also often on the Illinois Channel. You can watch the shows, including archived shows going back to 2005, here.
"Hot," recent posted shows on the Public Affairs YouTube page include a show with Chicago Ald. Toni Preckwinkle, a candidate for Cook County Board President in the 2010 Democratic Primary, a show with economist Art Laffer [inventor of the Laffer Curve] and FNC's Steve Moore about their book, "The end of Prosperity," and the Obama Administration's economic policies; the fastest five minutes on the web- a New York Times video about Obama-Berkowitz, a show with State Rep. Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs), a show with Professor Stephen Presser, a Northwestern University Law School Professor, about Judge Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to the U. S. Supreme Court, , the second fastest five minutes on the web- a segment of Bill O'Reilly with Berkowitz discussing a clip of Obama from 2002 on Blagojevich and many more shows.