Taking a look at Wisconsin's minimum wage and how an increase could affect residents


    Image courtesy MGN Online.

    BROWN COUNTY (WLUK) -- In just a few days, Governor Tony Evers will introduce his budget that includes steps toward raising the state’s minimum wage to $15.00 per hour.

    For many Wisconsin residents the cost of living has become too expensive.

    "I think that minimum wage should be lifted because expenses are ridiculous now days. No one can live off of $7.25 it's not possible," said Green Bay resident Mariah Hedrick.

    Although minimum wage has not been increased since 2009, a lot of companies are starting off at a higher wage to stay competitive.

    Jim Golembeski, the executive director of the Bay Area Workforce Development Board, said it's pretty uncommon for an employer to pay someone minimum wage.

    "If they can't be competitive with wages in this work force where we have a shortage of workers, then they go out of business," said Golembeski.

    Because of the competitive job market many Republican lawmakers said they don't believe an increase is necessary.

    "When you go around and talk to small business owners throughout the state they have serious concerns about raising it to that level," said Republican Rep. Jim Steineke. "I think it will lead to more automation and less jobs overall and damage to the economy."

    But during an interview on Tuesday, Governor Tony Evers said he believes the minimum wage could be increased without impacting businesses.

    "There's a lot of discussion around what the base wage could be that would support a family and quite frankly $15.00 an hour doesn't cover that either. But it recognizes that it does cost to live in 2019," said Golembeski.

    Governor Evers also said he recognizes that phasing in a new minimum wage would be a slow process, but he believes it's the right thing to do.

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