Wisconsin’s current minimum wage is equal to the federal minimum of $7.25, but some policymakers in the state are trying to change that. The Wisconsin Restaurant Association has been busy working on the industry’s behalf with state lawmakers and with media to help keep the minimum wage at its current level.
On June 18, 2014, WRA worked in conjunction with the National Restaurant Association to release a new study on the impacts of the proposed minimum wage legislation in Wisconsin. According to the study conducted by labor economist Dr. David Macpherson, the impact of raising the minimum wage to $10.10 in Wisconsin would be costly to employment levels and to taxpayers.
The study indicates that increasing the minimum wage would eliminate nearly 16,500 jobs in Wisconsin – with 9,200 of those jobs being held by women. The restaurant industry, particularly tipped workers, and those with a high school degree or less would be especially affected. Roughly 2,000 of the jobs eliminated would be concentrated in Milwaukee.
“As our state’s economy begins stabilizing and adding jobs, now is not the time to prevent hiring and squeeze business owners’ already razor-thin bottom lines,” said Ed Lump, President and CEO of the Wisconsin Restaurant Association. “We should focus on commonsense solutions that create jobs and promote opportunities for workers of all experience levels. Across the board wage increases will hurt those who need help the most.”
The study also found that there would be a significant cost to taxpayers if the minimum wage was raised to $10.10. According to data from the Census Bureau, the wages of approximately 34,000 state and local public employees would be affected by a minimum wage increase in Wisconsin. Statewide, taxpayers would shoulder an additional $69 million annually in total compensation costs if public employees were covered by the new wage.
View the Press Release
Full text and methodology of the Wisconsin study can be found at www.wirestaurant.org/pdf/2014_MinWage_Study.pdf