Political stunt or attempt to shine the light on Illinois minimum wage employees? You decide. Could you afford to live on a $79.00 a week food budget?

The Chicago Tribune reports that Gov. Pat Quinn (D) has begun a challenge to spend no more than $79 on food and other expenses. It's an attempt to build support for a minimum wage (non-binding) referendum that will be on the ballot in November.

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On Sunday, Gov. Quinn announced at a south side Chicago church he was going to take the challenge. According to Quinn, $79 is an estimate that reflects what a minimum wage worker in Illinois can spend each week on food and recreation after the costs of housing, transportation and taxes.

"It's very important, I think, for all of us who are in government to understand what everyday people who earn a living and are working hard on the minimum wage, what they have to contend with," Quinn told reporters outside the Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church in the Fuller Park neighborhood, where he made the announcement.

Quinn announced he began the challenge Sunday morning and had eaten a banana for breakfast. Here's an interesting note:

Gov Quinn's budget is based on Illinois' minimum wage of $8.25 and was calculated after transportation costs. That means of course, he can continue to travel the state for official duties and campaign events without counting those costs against his budget. He's challenging himself to spend no more than $79 on food and other recreational expenses this week."

Gov Quinn Quinn faces a re-election challenge from businessman Bruce Rauner (R) in the November election.

The Tribune says that Democrats put the question on the ballot in an attempt to increase turnout for the Nov. 4 election.

It's important to note that Gov Quinn supports the 66% increase in Illinois' Income tax rate from 3 1/4% to 5%. The tax rate is supposed to expire on Jan 1, 2015, but Quinn supports making the tax rate permanent. In 2011, Governor Signed legislation into law increasing the tax. According to Illinoispolicy.org, at the time the law passed, the rational for passing the increase was so that funds generated from tax increase

Were necessary to pay down Illinois’ backlog of bills, stabilize the state’s pension crisis and strengthen its economy. Gov Pat Quinn stated: “We have some temporary tax increases that are designed to pay our bills, get Illinois back on fiscal sound footing and make sure that our state has a strong economy.”


The report goes on to say: Since the tax increase was passed, Illinois’ unpaid bills and pension debt have grown, and the state’s economy is among the worst in the nation.

According to BND.com, the temporary income tax hike costs Illinois workers one week of pay per year.

So you think this is a good idea, or is this just a political stunt?

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