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Raising the minimum wage, a move that has extensive support among Wisconsin residents, would have widespread benefits in the state and would give a raise to one out of five Wisconsin workers.
The benefits of increasing the minimum wage are substantial. A proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would benefit 587,000 Wisconsin workers and give a boost to businesses and the state economy, according to a new report from the Economic Policy Institute.
Some opponents of raising the minimum wage claim that it is mostly teenagers who earn minimum wage. But in Wisconsin, teens make up only 21% of the workers who would benefit from an increase in the minimum wage. The other 79% of workers who would benefit are older workers, many of who are trying to support families. Increasing the minimum wage would also benefit 234,000 Wisconsin children, all of whom have at least one parent who would receive a raise.
Most Wisconsin residents support raising the minimum wage, according to a new poll by Marquette University. Three-quarters of Wisconsin residents support raising the minimum wage, with 40% saying the minimum wage should be increased to $10 an hour or more. The minimum wage is currently set at $7.25.
Opponents of increasing the minimum wage have blocked efforts to raise the floor, both at the state and national levels. However, there have been several successful moves to increase the wage floor for some workers, including:
- In his State of the Union address, President Obama said that he will require some federal contractors to pay workers a minimum wage of $10.10 an hour.
- Milwaukee County employees and contractors would earn at least $11.33 an hour under a measure given preliminary approval by the Milwaukee County Board last week.
- Voters approved a measure granting workers at the Seattle-Tacoma airport $15 an hour minimum wage.
Raising the minimum wage would help lift many Wisconsin families out of poverty and increase the amount of income those families have to spend at businesses in the state. The last increase was five years ago, and time is long past due for another increase.
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