The Dane County Circuit Court dismissed a lawsuit involving the City of Madison and the business community.Â Madison passed an ordinance raising the minimum wage from $5.15/hour to $5.70/hour initially with increases to $7.75/hour by January 1, 2008.Â The Madison business community disliked the idea, so they filed a lawsuit to reverse the ordinance.Â That suit was dismissed on Thursday.
So the Wisconsin Legislature’s Republican leadership wants to pass a law that would reverse the minimum wage as well as the smoking ban in all workplaces (including taverns) that takes effect on July 1.Â Instead of dealing with statewide issues, they are micro-managing. Madison continues to be progressive, and that seems to bother the conservatives downtown.Â These “concerned” legislators seem to play like two-faced dogs. When Congress passes an unfunded mandate to the states, the other levels of government are ill-prepared to deal with them. Wisconsinâ€™s legislative majority is doing the same thing to counties and municipalities. In that respect, Wisconsin’s legislative majority is really not much different from Congress.
Madison’s minimum wage law is so progressive that the City of Milwaukee passed a similar ordinance and the City of La Crosse is considering it.Â By raising the minimum wage, two things occur.Â First, those that make minimum wage earn more money, which could raise morale and productivity (well, theoretically).Â Second, increased income will allow workers to either put the added money in a savings account (it could happen) or spend it; either way, the economy benefits.Â When the economy benefits, society benefits.Â Businesses also benefit because more people can purchase goods or services from them.
Let’s face it; the cost of gasoline is driving the prices of so many of our goods up.Â It’s difficult for some people to live on $5.15/hour, a wage that was set over six years ago.Â At least with a wage increase, workers can put gas in the car and drive to work.Â When they show up to work, theyâ€™re either making a product, selling it, or offering some service. Businesses cannot do this without people, especially if they cannot fill their gas tanks.
Finally, the legislative minority and the Governor have been calling for the majority to act on the bill that would increase the minimum wage throughout the state.Â Yet the Republican majority is busier dealing with issues that are petty, stupid, and discriminatory.Â They are too busy playing the blame game instead of dealing with the important issues head-on. Itâ€™s time for them to step up, accept whatâ€™s happening, and deal with some real issues.
The other side of the argument is that many businesses already pay well above minimum wage, even the proposed rates. But there are those few that do not play fairly with their employees. Furthermore, if many businesses already pay more than the proposed minimum wage, why is there so much opposition?
I know I hoped that I would never put politics on this site, but lately it just seems like politics is difficult to ignore.
Wisconsin State Journal article: Judge sides with city on wage law