The Wisconsin Restaurant Association claims an increase in the minimum wage could cost the state thousands of jobs. In a report released by the group, an economist argues a push to increase Wisconsin’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour could result in businesses cutting 16,500 jobs.
Restaurant Association spokesman Pete Hanson says that’s because businesses would have either have to raise prices, cut jobs, or reduce hours to afford the higher labor costs. He says increasing prices does not work in the restaurant industry, because many customers would decide against eating out if the cost of food goes up. If that happens, restaurants would go out of business, which would still reduce the number of jobs available.
State Representative Cory Mason (D-Racine) argues the report is a scare tactic, designed to drive support away from paying workers a living wage. He says 22 other states and the District of Columbia have raised their minimum wage above the federal level have not seen unemployment go up. The Racine Democrat says there’s lots of real world evidence to support claims that raising the minimum wage can help workers.