The first bill to be introduced in the state Senate this year would raise Wisconsin's minimum wage. Wayne Corey with Wisconsin Independent Businesses says they've got plenty of respect for the bill's author, Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker, but not so much for this idea. "We don't like being seen as ogres, we don't like being seeing as trying to, frankly, beat people people down on the lower end of the wage spectrum," says Corey. "But this is just a very, very bad time in Wisconsin . . . to do something like this."
Corey says minimum wage indexing could be especially tough for the state's tourism and hospitality industry, but Decker says those workers need to be able to keep up, too. "You know, every time we've put a proposal out to raise the minimum wage, a lot of people holler that the sky is going to fall," says Decker. "The only thing we know for certain is that the minimum wage doesn't go up for six or seven years at a time."
Senate Bill One would increase the minimum wage from $6.50 to $7.60 an hour, and then index it for inflation. Decker also announced bills (PDF) to make payment of unpaid wages a priority when a company goes out of business, and to require insurance companies cover treatment for children with autism.