State Rep. David Bowen
Press Release

Milwaukee County Supervisor David F. Bowen Hopeful of Veto-proof Majority on Living Wage Ordinance

Milwaukee County Supervisor David F. Bowen said today he remained hopeful that his “living wage” ordinance would pass the full County Board with a veto-proof majority of 12 votes after the Finance, Personnel and Audit Committee delayed a vote on the measure Monday.

By - Dec 17th, 2013 01:49 pm

Milwaukee County Supervisor David F. Bowen said today he remained hopeful that his “living wage” ordinance would pass the full County Board with a veto-proof majority of 12 votes after the Finance, Personnel and Audit Committee delayed a vote on the measure Monday.

“This ordinance is the first step toward fairness for the people who work hard but are not compensated at a level that keeps them above the poverty line,” said Bowen, a member of the Finance Committee and sponsor of the ordinance. “I look forward to bringing this proposal to the full Board for approval as we move toward equity for working people. The Committee’s vote on Monday was a minor setback that will help us gain support on the Board for the measure.

“As it stands today, Milwaukee County uses public dollars to contract with and provide tax breaks to private corporations that pay their workers so little that they’re forced to rely on public assistance so tax payers pick up the tab. That’s just wrong.”

The “living wage” ordinance calls for companies that do business with the County to compensate their employees an hourly wage at 110 percent of the Federal Poverty Line (FPL) for a family. It also includes developers who receive Economic Development Financial Assistance over $1 million. Every year the FPL is set by the federal government. For 2014, it is set at $12.45.

“I was not discouraged by the committee’s action, and I am hoping we can win a veto-proof majority on the full Board. Living wage is about fairness. Hard-working people do not want hand-outs, they want to live in dignity and be able to pay their bills and provide for their families. The time for a living wage ordinance is now.”

Bowen was also critical of County Executive Chris Abele, who indicated that he would veto the ordinance if passed by the Board.

“Resolution 12-636 has been on the books supporting an increase in the minimum wage since July 26, 2012, but never has Abele publicly supported an increase or devoted his lobbyist to lobby on it,” Bowen said. “His apparent opposition to a living wage is a clear indication that he does not support increasing wages to pull hard-working poor people of Milwaukee County out of poverty.”

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2 thoughts on “Milwaukee County Supervisor David F. Bowen Hopeful of Veto-proof Majority on Living Wage Ordinance”

  1. Matt says:

    So everybody who works for or contracts with the county is supposed to make 110 of the poverty level for a family of 4? Shouldn’t they actually be getting 110 percent of the level for an individual, or, more equitably, the level for a family of two? Then they can live with someone else who has a crappy job, and they will make the wage of a family of 4.

    Perhaps someone should do a detailed study of how this might play out (instead of just saying, Hey kids, its Christmas, you know what sounds good. Everyone gets a raise!) It may be a great idea. It may be a monumentally stupid idea. That’s the kind of thing we elect people to RESEARCH before implementing.

    Bowen is right in many ways. However, there doesn’t seem to have been any thought as to actual ramifications (outside of sky is falling corporate hacks/talk show hosts). Its a dramatic change, and he needs to back it up with evidence. Or, since it is Bowen’s idea and he probably is biased in favor of it, perhaps one of these pantloads we elect to loaf around on a County Board might get up off their cold dead asses and research it themselves.

  2. Andy says:

    Oh wonderful, as if almost losing a new hotel development wasn’t enough proof to show the negative effect this will have?!?!

    And Matt, the comptroller did do a study and showed this will likely cost the county a lot!

    This is not good… not good at all…

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