Democrat Legislators Call for Hearing on Bill to Raise the Minimum Wage

MacIver News Service | December 10, 2013

[Madison, Wisc…] Sen. Bob Wirch (D-Pleasant Prairie) and Sen. Nikiya Harris (D-Milwaukee) called for a hearing on their bill that will raise the minimum wage to $7.60 an hour.

The democratic legislators said it was time to get serious about raising the minimum wage in Wisconsin.

The bill, which was proposed in January, would increase the minimum wage 35 cents from the current minimum of $7.25. It would also index the minimum wage in Wisconsin to inflation.

“Hardworking individuals have been increasingly unable to cover their basic living expenses as minimum wage jobs force them onto public assistance and food pantries in order to make ends meet,” Harris said at a press conference.

A report by the MacIver Institute shows that raising the minimum wage, however, will not help these workers. Small businesses will have to incur the extra cost by raising prices, limiting hours for employees, or possibly firing workers.

In fact, the study found that more than 7,000 teenagers are unemployed today because of the minimum wage increases since 2005.

“The call for a higher minimum wage is nothing but a political stunt,” said Brett Healy, President of the John K. MacIver Institute. “This plan will only hurt the very individuals Sens. Wirch and Harris claim they want to help.”

The legislators’ press conference comes only days after nationwide fast food protests – organized by pro-union organizations – where workers walked off the job at places like McDonalds and Taco Bell demanding $15 an hour and the right to form a union.