Madison (WKOW) -- from WI Legislature: State Senator Russ Decker (D-Weston) announced that legislation to raise the minimum wage will be the first bill introduced in the State Senate in the upcoming session.
Senate Bill 1 will increase the minimum wage to $7.60 per hour effective June 1, 2009.
The bill will also change the law to index the wage to inflation.
The current minimum wage in Wisconsin is $6.50 per hour.
"For too long minimum wage workers have been working harder for less while the cost of gas, food and clothing," Decker said.
The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development found that the last minimum wage increase to its current level benefitted approximately 250,000 people of which 80% were adults and more than one-third were heads-of-household.
At the current minimum wage, a worker trying to support a family of three would earn $4,080 less than the federal poverty line.
"We need to get our economy moving by paying workers a wage that enables them to support themselves and their families," Decker continued.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Wisconsin is one of only seven states with a state minimum wage lower than the federal minimum wage of $6.55 per hour.
Other Midwest states including Illinois, Michigan, Iowa, Indiana, Ohio and Missouri have a minimum wage at least equal to the federal minimum wage.
"More and more states are taking control of this issue instead of waiting over a decade for the federal government to act and Wisconsin should step up to the plate and do the same," Decker said.
A similar bill was blocked last session by Assembly Republicans, but Decker said he expects favorable consideration this session with Assembly Democrats now in control.
"Democrats are making it clear that they are going to put working families first," Decker concluded.