Dems plan to force vote on minimum wage increase

By Heather Sawaski, Local 5 News

Published 03/17 2014 05:13PM

Updated 03/17 2014 07:18PM

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) - Democrats plan to call for a vote on the assembly floor Tuesday, asking for a minimum wage increase from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour.

"A very gradual, modest increase," Rep. Eric Genrich explained. "which we believe will spur the economy, fight poverty and also reduce our reliance on government assistance programs."

The bill was introduced in January, but has not yet received a public hearing. With the end of this year's legislative session looming, Oshkosh Representative Gordon Hintz said now is the time to follow other states and help jump start Wisconsin's economy.

"We've got states across the country who have increased the minimum wage and have realized the benefits of it," he said. "And as, increasingly, people are stuck in low wage jobs, it's time that we make these jobs have meaningful pay."

However, Governor Walker is outspokenly against a wage hike. Many republicans say they're focused on job creation.

"Our main focus as republicans in the assembly is not creating minimum wage jobs," said Rep. Jim Steineke. "it's creating family supporting jobs so that's what we're going to stay focused on."

"Keep in mind the competitive problems with the other states," said Sen. Rob Cowles. "Not every company has the ability to pay those high minimum wages. So you would unemploy some people."

If the vote falls short, democrats say they won't give up.

"If we can't get the votes tomorrow," added Rep. Hintz. "we'll take it to the voters this fall and if you can't change the policies you've got to change the faces."

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