U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin at a hearing of the Senate Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on Defense last month.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin at a hearing of the Senate Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on Defense last month. (Jose M. Osorio/ Chicago Tribune / June 23, 2014)

Sen. Richard Durbin will keep up the Democratic Party's election-year drumbeat on wages and income inequality today with a news conference to discuss a bill to reward companies for providing workers a certain level of salaries and benefits while closing tax loopholes for corporations that take jobs out of the country.

Durbin will announce the "Patriot Employer Tax Credit Act" this morning at Wheatland Tube in the Back of the Yards neighborhood.

The proposal would give tax credits to companies "that provide fair wages and good benefits to workers while closing a loophole that allows corporations to claim tax savings for activities such as building a manufacturing plant overseas," according to a news release from Durbin's office.

Durbin plans to introduce the bill to the Senate next week.

Durbin's announcement comes a day after Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat seeking re-election, signed a bill that will place an advisory referendum on the Nov. 4 ballot asking voters whether the Illinois minimum wage should be raised to $10.

Quinn, in a tight race against wealthy Republican Bruce Rauner, has tried throughout the campaign to paint Rauner as out of touch with the difficulties faced by working people.

And it comes after Durbin's opponent, multimillionaire businessman and Republican state Sen. Jim Oberweis of Sugar Grove, stumbled on the minimum wage issue in his campaign. During the primary race, Oberweis came out against President Barack Obama's plan to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10.

Then after winning the primary, Oberweis introduced a plan in Springfield to increase the state minimum wage from $8.25 to $10 an hour over three years for workers age 26 and older. That bill stalled in the General Assembly.

Durbin's bill likewise faces long odds, since it's unlikely the Republican-controlled House of Representatives would agree to such measures.

jebyrne@tribune.com