Debate surrounds proposed minimum wage increase

Madison, Wis (WMTV) -- As a bill to raise the minimum wage to $15 moves to the senate, not everyone is on board with that increase.

The bill would double the state's minimum wage. Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce said the measure could hurt small businesses.

Officials explained when it costs more to hire, businesses will likely hire fewer employees.
Additionally, younger and lower skilled workers could lose their jobs or have their hours reduced.
In these situations restaurants and stores typically increase their prices or close their doors for good.

With today's vote in the house, supporters said everyone could benefit from the measure.

"This bill would increase the minimum wage gradually. This is not a bad for business piece of legislation as my colleagues across the aisle allege. It's a good for everyone bill," U.S. Rep. Susan Wild, D-7th district said.

On the other hand, Scott Manley, senior vice president of government relations at Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, said small businesses would feel the pinch the most.

""We look at the congressional budget office, which is a non-partisan group in Washington D.C. A $15 minimum wage would result in 1.3 million job losses in the United States and reduce household income by 9 billion dollars," he said.

He added, there’s a different approach lawmakers could take to tackle the measure.
“Let’s do a better job of educating and preparing students for careers that pay a lot more than that, like manufacturing for an example," Manley said.

Washington insiders said the bill likely won't get very far in the republican-controlled senate.