Monday, July 02, 2007

The State That Skied Down Everest

In a famous movie review in the mid 1970s, Clive James told--as he watched the Japanese skier Yuichiro Miura going head over heels for over 1300 feet, only to be saved from going over a cliff by a snow bank--how much he enjoyed seeing someone who is really asking for it...getting it.

Which brings us to Illinois [thanks to Craig Newmark]:

Illinois' minimum wage shoots up to $7.50 an hour today, a move heralded as helping working men and women by the Democrats who pushed it, but which ironically may have cost a suburban company two state contracts and eliminated dozens of downstate jobs.

Hoffman Estates-based Rely Services has a data-entry center in downstate Carlinville, which for years held state contracts to manually input tax and vehicle data.

But in bidding to keep those contracts, the company was undercut, in part, its officials say, because out-of-state firms can pay their employees a lower minimum wage. As a result, the center that at its peak employs 134 will see its workforce plummet to 14 on Monday.

"It's been a pretty sad day," production manager Brenda Witt told the Daily Herald last week as employees were finishing their final days at work.

The work those employees had done now will be handled by firms based in North Carolina, Michigan and Indiana, all of which have lower minimum wages than Illinois.

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