ROCKFORD- Raising the federal minimum wage is a major debate on Capital Hill and in Illinois. Now more lawmakers formerly opposed to a pay hike are changing their minds.
The current federal rate is $7.25 an hour. In Illinois minimum wage is $8.25 an hour. President Obama wants the rate raised to $10.10 an hour over several years. He’s even started an online petition.
Northern Illinois' Center for Governmental Studies Assistant Director Brian Richard calls it a "hard sell when unemployment rates are higher."
"Now if the national minimum wage came up to Illinois' level so we had a level playing field and we were competitive in Illinois for our businesses here with the other states I could support that. That levels the playing field for Illinois businesses," said Illinois Republican Candidate for Governor Bruce Rauner.
Former Republican Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney recently called for an increase in the minimum wage, agreeing with President Obama.
According to a Gallup poll more than 75% of Americans are in favor of raising the federal minimum wage to at least $9 an hour.