County board ponders minimum wage hike referendum

Milwaukee County Supervisor Khalif Rainey introduced a resolution Thursday calling for a county-wide advisory referendum asking voters if they support increasing the state minimum wage from the current $7.25 per an hour to $10.10 per hour.

The resolution was passed by the Judiciary, Safety and General Services Thursday by a vote of 5-1 and will be considered by the full County Board at its next meeting on June 26.
 
“Voters need to be able to express themselves on this issue,” Rainey said. “An advisory referendum, which I believe would pass easily, would put pressure on State lawmakers who have been dragging their feet on this issue. There are too many people working full-time and making a minimum wage that cannot support them or their families.”
 
Rainey’s resolution, which notes that someone working for the current minimum wage earns only $290 per week, or $15,080 per year, says that the Federal Poverty Guideline for a family of four is $51,695. In addition, the resolution says that the poverty rate in Wisconsin is 13.2 percent while the rate in Milwaukee County is 22.3, with 32.4 percent of children living in poverty in Milwaukee County.
 
“The problem of poverty is only getting worse in Milwaukee County,” Rainey said. “We need to do something to light a fire under the Legislature and the governor to get them to move on increasing the minimum wage. People in poverty are suffering, and I’m confident the people of Milwaukee County will speak up for those who need a raise in the minimum wage.”
 
The referendum would be held on the Nov. 4, 2014, ballot.

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