Assembly Passes Living Wage Preemption

MacIver News Service | February 24, 2014

[Madison, Wisc…] Assembly Bill 750, aimed at preempting the use of state and federal funds to support “living wage” ordinances, passed the Assembly on a 56-37 vote last Thursday.

Under current law, cities or counties that pass living wage ordinances have no restrictions on how the increased wage will be paid for.

AB 750, authored by Rep. Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield), was amended from a previous version to allow local governments to enforce a higher wage, but it would be prohibit the municipality or county from using state or federally provided funds to support it.

“We want to implement policies that will grow employment and allow the market to naturally inflate wages,” Kapenga said. “Inflated wage ordinances artificially attempt to raise wages, leading to less employment and hurting those that the ordinances were intended to help most.”

Rep. Chris Taylor (D-Madison) voted against the bill and argued it would hurt workers.

“If successful, supporters of this measure will actually stifle our local economics and cuts worker’s wages, rather than help our communities and workers thrive,” Taylor said.

The bill is now headed to the Senate to be voted on.