A proposal to increase Wisconsin's minimum wage has cleared its first legislative hurdle.
The Senate committee on Labor, Elections and Urban Affairs approved the bill Thursday on a 3-2 vote. The measure would increase Wisconsin's minimum wage from $6.50 to $7.60 an hour, and tie future increases to inflation.
The proposal is from Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker (D-Schofield), who says the hike is needed to help struggling workers. Decker says he can't see how anyone can get by supporting a family if they're trying to live on the minimum wage.
During a hearing at the Capitol Thursday, State Senator Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) questioned whether the measure could actually hurt workers. Grothman says it could force struggling businesses to scale back their workforce, resulting in more lost jobs.
Grothman says many businesses are already hurting, and the Legislature should not be adding to their burden.
Decker says arguments against increasing the minimum wage come up each time as if an increase will cause the "sky to fall," but the economy just moves right along after an increase goes through.
The measure now heads to the full Senate for a vote.