Democrats in the Wisconsin legislature are trying to start a conversation on the minimum wage. It needs to be increased, says state Senator Nikiya Harris of Milwaukee, who notes we’re not just talking about high school kids working fast food jobs. She says nearly one-quarter of minimum wage earners have family incomes of less than $20,000, nearly one-quarter have children, and almost a third are married.
Wisconsin’s minimum wage was last raised in 2009 and is currently at $7.25 an hour. Harris says there’s widespread public support for an increase. “What will help this conversation go more smoothly is accepting the fact that there’s a public opinion that is actually in favor of raising the minimum wage,” she says.
Harris says Democrats plan to introduce legislation to hike the wage again, though they haven’t settled yet on what the new number should be. Any such measure would face an uphill battle in the Republican-controlled legislature.
“We are the richest country in the world. We should seriously be ashamed that millions of families are suffering in poverty,” Harris says.