Legislation Would Boost Wisconsin’s Minimum Wage to $15 Per Hour

Date: August 04, 2021

NFIB members asked to take action against Senate Bill 452

Senator Melissa Agard (Madison) and Representative Lisa Subeck (Madison) have introduced legislation that would provide an immediate increase in the state’s minimum wage to $10.15/hour, followed by another increase to $15/hour a year following enactment.

According to the bill’s authors, “the proposal addresses the systematic injustice of unfair compensation by creating a livable wage for workers in Wisconsin …”

The legislation, Senate Bill 452, would also:

  • index the wage to provide for annual increases
  • eliminate the current employee tip credit
  • and repeal current law that prohibits local governments from enacting and administering their own minimum wage rates.

Governor Tony Evers included a provision in his 2021-23 budget proposal that would have bumped the minimum wage from the current $7.25/hour to $10.10/hour. However, members of the Joint Finance Committee removed it from the budget legislation.

According to a recent study by the Badger Institute, about 38 percent of Wisconsin’s workforce earns less than $15/hour, or 1.1 million workers.

The study estimates roughly 350,000 workers would lose their jobs, or about one-third of all workers currently employed earning less than $15/hour.

Meanwhile, the University of Wisconsin says the minimum wage increase to $10.15/hour will increase costs by $4.5 million, and an additional $40 million will be needed to provide the second increase to $15/hour – 75 percent of the total $44.5 million estimate is related to student labor.

Survey studies by the NFIB’s Research Center show 74 percent of small employers would be negatively impacted by a $15/hour minimum wage:

  • 89 percent would experience lower earnings
  • 58 percent would reduce employment
  • 60 percent would reduce employee hours

NFIB has registered in opposition to passage of Senate Bill 452. The City of Milwaukee has indicated support for passage.

Members are encouraged to contact their elected officials to urge them to oppose passage of SB 452.


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