Effort to Raise Minimum Wage Spreads

(Madison) Madison did it. Now some lawmakers want the state to do it too. Democratic lawmakers are introducing a bill to raise Wisconsin's minimum wage to $6.50 an hour starting this fall.

If the bill passes, the minimum wage would go to $5.70 immediately. It would then rise to $6.50 in October. The state mandated minimum wage is $5.15 an hour right now.

Democrats say poor people can't afford to work for that amount these days. But Republicans say the minimum wage isn't meant to sustain families. They say it's designed for entry–level workers and could force businesses to layoff people off.

State Senator Dave Hansen says, "I really do believe it's not an issue between Democrats and Republicans. It's about doing what's right for the people of the state. It's not a hand out. It's a hand up for a lot of people that really, really need it, and need it now."

Governor Jim Doyle proposed raising the wage to $6.50 last fall, but Republican lawmakers blocked the effort.

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