Ethnie Groves, Office of the Governor, 608-261-2156
“This morning, Republican lawmakers had one last chance to
do what’s right for Wisconsin’s working families. But instead of working to
make the lives of Wisconsin families better, Republican members of the Joint
Committee for Review of Administrative Rules today passed a bill that will
prevent not only my Administration, but any future Governor from ever
attempting to increase the minimum wage.
Earlier this year, my Administration set up a Minimum Wage
Advisory Council comprised of business leaders and labor representatives
that recommended a modest increase from $5.15 to $5.70 this year and $6.50 a
year from now. But for the second time in a month and less than two weeks
before Election Day, Republicans have blocked a proposal to increase the
minimum wage, ignoring the advice of the business and labor communities.
The fact that they won’t even consider a proposal is shameful. Wisconsin’s
working men and women deserve better.
This increase would benefit an estimated 200,000 minimum and
low-wage workers across the state. These people are working, yet many of
them are living in poverty, relying on food pantries to feed their children.
A single mother working 40 hours a week at minimum wage – more than likely
two part-time jobs, no benefits – will earn less than $11,000 in a year.
Republicans in the Legislature who oppose the minimum wage
increase are the same people who have given themselves seven pay raises in
the past seven years. In that time, their pay has gone up by almost $6,500,
but minimum wage workers have been stuck at $5.15 an hour.
Republicans are trying to overturn a process that has been
in place since 1919. If they have their way, the minimum wage will be stuck
at $5.15 for the foreseeable future – and no Administration, Republican or
Democratic, will be able to change it.
The bill approved by the committee this morning – which now
goes to the full Legislature – will deny our lowest paid citizens a long
overdue raise. If Republicans persist in going down this harmful path, I
will consider using my veto pen against any bill that would take away the
right to ever increase the minimum wage.”