County Board overrides living wage veto

The Milwaukee County Board today overrode Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele’s veto of a “living wage” ordinance with a 12-6 vote.

The ordinance requires Milwaukee county workers and some employees of county contractors to be paid a “living wage” of a minimum of $11.32 an hour.

County supervisors David Bowen, Gerry Broderick, David Cullen, Jason Haas, Willie Johnson Jr., Theo Lipscomb Sr., Michael Mayo Sr., Khalif Rainey, Peggy Romo West, Russell Stamper II, John Weishan Jr., and Board Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic voted to override the veto.

Supervisors Deanna Alexander, Mark Borkowski, Patricia Jursik, Jim “Luigi” Schmitt, Tony Staskunas and Steve F. Taylor voted to sustain the veto.

The 12-6 vote to override the veto was the same as it was last month when the Board initially passed the ordinance.

When he vetoed the living wage ordinance on Wednesday, Abele said, “An analysis by the independent Comptroller found that the living wage plan, if enacted, will cost taxpayers $4.2 million in 2015, rising to $7.3 million in 2019. Not only is that an unsustainable spending plan, it will also threaten our ability to maintain our core services, including many of the safety-net services that benefit low income workers. The Comptroller’s independent analysis clearly shows that this living wage ordinance will make many County services more expensive, including amenities and concessions at the parks and zoo. For example, the janitorial contract alone will cost taxpayers an additional $3.8 million over the next five years. This is $3.8 million less that we can spend on the County’s core safety-net services.”

Living wage ordinances are already in effect in Dane County and in both the city of Milwaukee and the city of Madison.

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