Raise the minimum wage in Wisconsin? Democrats want more money for low income earners

By: Aaron Dimick Email
By: Aaron Dimick Email

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Raising the minimum wage is a topic that's getting lots of buzz following President Obama’s recent State of the Union address.

Last week, the President called on congress to raise the federal minimum wage to $9.00 an hour from $7.25.

While that's being debated across the country, there’s a minimum wage discussion brewing right now in Wisconsin.

WEAU 13 News talked to State Rep. Dana Wachs of Eau Claire Thursday.

He's the co-sponsor of a bill to raise the state's minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $7.60.

The democrat said that would greatly increase the earnings of about 300,000 Wisconsinites and pump lots of money into the economy.

“Those are the folks that will actually buy things at the stores. Those are the folks that are going to buy new refrigerators, they're going to buy new cars, they'll go out and purchase things. The people in the top echelons of the economy are more apt to put their money in some form of savings,” Wachs said

Wachs still has to get support from fellow lawmakers.

State Rep. Kathy Bernier told WEAU she doesn't think this will do much for low income earners.

The republican said she'd rather see efforts going to higher paying jobs.

“There are entry level jobs and there are good paying jobs that we're working on right now in regards to workforce development. Thousands of jobs that remain filled are more than minimum wage jobs. I don't think our emphasis or my emphasis will be on raising minimum wage,” Bernier said.

Wachs said the bill would also tie any future raise of the minimum wage to inflation getting rid of the need to have lawmakers involved.

He said the bill is waiting to get into committee.

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