Will minimum wage rise to $9.80?

(WEAU) - The current federal minimum wage in 22 states is $ 7.25. Meanwhile, 18 states pay more than that and 4 states are below the federal level.

While Wisconsin follows the federal minimum wage more people are seeing it as a problem. Now there's a push to increase it.

"If I had no help from my parents there would absolutely be no way I would be able to live on my own. I don't get financial aid and I don't qualify for it," said Kali Mae Julian who works at minimum wage.

Kali Mae Julian works for minimum wage at Acoustic Cafe in Eau Claire. She's one of about 2300 people in Eau Claire County that a local economist estimates only pull down $7.25 an hour.

"American families can't make it anymore. The vast majority of jobs are low paying jobs," said Jennifer Epps-Addison of Citizen Action of Wisconsin.

It’s an issue Citizen Action of Wisconsin along with Democrat George Miller from California is pushing forward with the Fair Minimum Wage Act. If it takes effect it would raise minimum wage to $9.80 by 2014.

"I think if it did go to 9.80 cents by 2014, I think that would be the nail in the coffin as far as I'm concerned,” said business owner, Hugh Passow.

The Economic Policy Institute released a study showing 28 million workers would be affected across the country.

"What this study is saying if we raise minimum wage for those people they'll throw that money back into the economy. The 1966 amendment had the minimum wage set at a $1.45 in 1970 and aging that forward in 2012 that would be $8.56,” said Scott Hodek, an economist.

Minimum wage employees say the pay increase could help

“I would honestly probably take a little weight off my parents be able to pay more,” said Julian.


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