Gov. Doyle: Statement of Governor on Republican Legislators Failure to Increase State’s Minimum Wage

Ethnie Groves, Governor’s Office, 608-261-2156

Increase Fails in a 6-4 Party Line Vote in the
Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules

“It’s disappointing that legislative Republicans decided
today to refuse to join with Wisconsin’s business and labor leaders and
approve a long overdue increase in the state’s minimum wage.

Wisconsin’s minimum wage – at $5.15 an hour – has not been
raised since 1997. It is difficult to point to any other segment of the
economy that has gone seven years without a raise.

In fact, in the last seven years, the Legislature has given
itself seven pay raises, while minimum wage workers haven’t had a single
increase. Legislators’ salaries have gone up by almost $6,500 – just more
than 16 percent – but now they’re going to deny a working mother an increase
of just a dollar thirty-five an hour.

Raising the minimum wage will help an estimated 200,000
Wisconsin workers better provide for themselves and their families. Roughly
half of these workers are 25 or older. Nearly two out of every three are
women, and many are single mothers.

In March, the Minimum Wage Advisory Council voted
overwhelming to raise the minimum wage for thousands of people in Wisconsin
who work hard day after day, and earn the least among us. Members of the
Council – from the business community to labor – worked together to find
consensus on an appropriate increase.

Citizens across the state have shown strong support for
increasing Wisconsin’s minimum wage as well. During five public hearings,
held at locations throughout the state, the public overwhelming supported
the increase.

It is unfortunate that legislative Republicans are willing
to block this long-overdue increase and stand against business and labor
leaders and the hundreds of thousands of working poor in Wisconsin.”