House to Vote on Raise the Wage Act

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Washington, July 12, 2019 | comments
Jim Lundstrom
Door County Pulse

New report finds it would raise wages of 27 million workers

Twenty-nine states have hourly minimum wages that are higher than the federal minimum of $7.25. Wisconsin has been stuck at $7.25 since 2009. Some municipalities have set their own minimum wages higher than state or federal wages, such as San Francisco, which, as of July 1, has an hourly minimum wage of $15.59. 

Gov. Tony Evers’ budget called for an increase to $8.25 per hour on Jan. 1, 2020; $9 in 2021; $9.75 in 2022; and $10.50 in 2023. After that it would grow with the rate of inflation. The proposal did not survive the ugly partisan budget-writing process.

Next week the Raise the Wage Act will go before the U.S. House. Wisconsin members Rep. Gwen Moore and Rep. Mark Pocan are among the 205 Democratic co-sponsors of the act, which would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2025.

The House vote comes on the heels of a just-released report by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) that looks at the effects on employment and family income of increasing the minimum wage. In fact, that is the name of the report.

It looked at three minimum-wage levels: $10, $12 and $15.

The CBO determined that at the high end of $15 per hour, wages would be boosted for 17 million workers, and an additional 10 million workers who earn slightly more than $15 per hour might see a paycheck hike as well. On the other side, the CBO estimated that 1.3 million workers would lose their jobs because of the increase.

The $12 option would increase wages for 5 million workers making less than $12 an hour, plus another 6 million earning slightly more than $12 an hour. In this scenario, 0.3 million jobs would be lost.

At $10 an hour, 1.5 million workers would have pay increases, and another 2 million making more than $10 an hour would likely see increases. The CBO said this option would have little effect on unemployment.

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