Tamarine Cornelius
Wisconsin Budget

$15 Minimum Wage?

Marquette poll shows 51% of Wisconsinites support a large minimum wage hike.

By , Wisconsin Budget Project - Sep 23rd, 2016 02:11 pm
Burger King

Burger King

Half of Wisconsin residents support a very large increase in Wisconsin’s minimum wage that would more than double what the lowest-paid workers earn, according to a new Marquette University poll. Yet Wisconsin lawmakers have yet to show any inclination they consider it a priority to make sure the lowest-paid workers in Wisconsin get a raise.

This isn’t the first time that Wisconsin residents have shown their support for increasing the minimum wage. In 2014, voters in 13 Wisconsin counties and cities had the opportunity to vote on a referendum asking lawmakers to raise the minimum wage – and every one of the referendums passed. Past polls by Marquette University have also shown that large majorities want the minimum wage raised.

What’s different about this poll is that it gauged support for raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour, more than double Wisconsin’s current minimum wage of $7.25. Past Marquette University polls asked about increasing the minimum to $10.10 per hour or did not identify a specific increase in the minimum wage.

Half of Wisconsin's Residents Favor Increasing Minimum Wage to $15, Poll Shows

Half of Wisconsin’s Residents Favor Increasing Minimum Wage to $15, Poll Shows

The poll shows that just over half of respondents favor doubling the minimum wage in Wisconsin, and just under half oppose such an increase. That is a striking amount of support considering that respondents were asked about a very large increase in the minimum wage.

Support for a $15 minimum wage breaks along party lines, according to the poll results. About one-quarter of Republicans in Wisconsin favor a $15 minimum wage, with three-quarters opposed. Democrats’ support for a $15 minimum wage is a mirror image to that of Republicans, with three-quarters of respondents favoring and one-quarter opposing. An increase to $15 also has the support of most independents, who favor it by a margin of 8 percentage points.

Twenty-nine states, including our neighboring states of Michigan, Illinois, and Minnesota have set their minimum wages higher than the federal minimum wage, which was last increased in 2009.

Unfortunately, raising the state’s minimum wage doesn’t appear to be a high priority for Wisconsin lawmakers, despite the strong support for such a move shown by Wisconsin residents. The refusal to increase the minimum wage hurts the prospects of families who are working hard to climb the economic ladder. It also harms the state’s economy, depriving it of the extra money those families would spend at local businesses.

10 thoughts on “Wisconsin Budget: $15 Minimum Wage?”

  1. Bman says:

    I own a small retail business. I hire primarily college students and younger. Currently I have 7 working for me making between $10 and $13 per hour. If the minimum wage went up to $15 I would have to let at least 3 go. I am all for an increase in the minimum, but $15 is much too high. Milwaukee has a huge problem with unemployment for people under 25. An increase to $15 will make high school kids completely unemployable. With kids not getting any experience in the workplace there will be less opportunities for them to gain meaningful employment in the future. Retail in particular is becoming more and more automated. Businesses will adjust and make do with less employees.

  2. Jason says:

    Why must this be a state issue? Milwaukee, Madison, Kenosha, Green Bay, Racine and smaller cities have Democratic Mayors and Democratic representatives. Take this issue and score a victory for your constituents and then let the economics play out. Democrats in Wisconsin all ways make this an issue and like Lucy stealing the ball from Charlie Brown, they take it away.

  3. Tom D says:

    Jason (post 2), You ask why a city can’t enact its own higher minimum wage?

    Because Wisconsin state law prohibits it!

    Wisconsin Statutes 104.001 (2) reads in part:
    “A city, village, town, or county may not enact and administer an ordinance establishing a living wage.”


    Madison actually passed its own higher minimum wage back in 2004, but it was negated by this state law passed the next year (AB 49 which became Act 12 of 2005).

    AB 49 was a Republican bill. Here are its original sponsors and Senate co-sponsors:

    Representatives Nass, LeMahieu, Albers, Gard, Hines, Jensen, Jeskewitz, Moulton, Nischke, Owens, Strachota, Stone, Suder, Townsend, Van Roy, Vrakas, Vos, Ward and Ziegelbauer; cosponsored by Senators Grothman, Brown, S. Fitzgerald, Kanavas, Kapanke, Kedzie, A. Lasee, Lazich and Reynolds.

  4. Jason says:

    Tom D., Do what Obama does and make up your own laws.The federal government bail out GM and Chrysler by law the bond holders had a legal right to the business. They were stiffed. We have a law in Wisconsin that MPS must give its least performing schools for the County Executive to oversee. MPS told the state to jump in a lake. Laws are meant to be broken.

  5. Vincent Hanna says:

    Jason get off your high horse. Republicans do the same thing all the time. How many clerks and judges in states decided to ignore gay marriage being law? Not to mention Republicans always claimed to love and support local control until suddenly they didn’t so they could stick it to Milwaukee and Madison. You are absurdly hyper-partisan and blinded by ideology.

  6. Jason says:

    Vince, gays are being denied marriage is news to me. Where is the out rage. Who is being denied ? This is like all those people who walk around Wisconsin with out a free State ID to vote. Mr. Hanna I see that another one of our Glendale neighbors had their Trump sign removed from their lawn. It must give you the warm fuzzies.

  7. Ken says:

    I guess the same folks who can’t correctly make a hamburger with no ketchup when I ask for it, will magically get the orders right when they get $15. Such incompetent people working at some of these places. Sure let’s pay them more for their outstanding service.

  8. Ben says:

    $15 minimum wage = more unemployment for the unskilled minimum wage people

    Skilled employees make beyond minimum wage

    $15 minimum wage will also double the cost of most Wisconsin goods – even hamburgers

    A higher, new minimum wage, will cause a higher, cost of goods sold. WHICH IS NOT GOOD FOR USA in the global market!

    I wonder the minimum wage is in India, Thailand, China – where most of our products are being manufactured.

  9. AG says:

    $15 minimum wage is ridiculous… you can raise the minimum wage in line with inflation without resorting to such extreme measures.

    That being said, the fact that the Marquette poll shows a statistical dead heat in supporting a $15 minimum wage boggles my mind. I am surprised so many support the idea.

    Reading into who the supporters are is fascinating. Interestingly, it is the young (under 29) and the retirement age population who showed most of the support. These are also the people who have the most to gain and lose in this situation.

    Not surprisingly, single, divorced, and widowed showed far more support than married people.

  10. Darrell Bush says:

    Is there really a 15 dollars per hour wage in Wisconsin, can somebody email me and let me know.

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