(1/9/14) Minority Democrats are asking Wisconsin Republicans to do something the state has not done on its own since 2006 -- raise the minimum wage.
Assembly Democrat Cory Mason of Racine and Senate Democrats Bob Wirch of Pleasant Prairie and Nikiya Harris of Milwaukee are seeking co-sponsors for their proposal. It would gradually raise the current state minimum for most workers from 7.25-an-hour to 8.20, and then 10.10-an-hour two years later -- and it would end the requirement that lawmakers vote on the matter by adjusting the minimum wage to inflation. Former Democratic Governor Jim Doyle was able to get an increase approved seven years ago to 6.50-an-hour. It became 7.25 in 2009, when the federal minimum wage was jacked up. Over the past year, fast food workers in Wisconsin and elsewhere have protested for higher wages. The state Democrats say their measure is similar to a bill in Congress introduced last year. They said it would benefit around 600-thousand employees if the full increase were to take effect. Business interests and the G-O-P have said in the past that minimum wage hikes would end up cutting jobs, and many workers would not benefit anyway since they already make more.