WAUKESHA - A study was released by the Wisconsin
Restaurant Association Wednesday, indicating that increasing the
minimum wage to $10.10 would eliminate 16,500 jobs in Wisconsin
while costing taxpayers more than $69 million.
President Barack Obama has proposed raising the
minimum wage nationwide to $10.10 per hour and Rep. Cory Mason,
D-Racine, has proposed raising the state’s minimum wage to the
“Raising Wisconsin’s minimum wage to $10.10 per
hour would benefit 587,000 Wisconsin workers and their
families,” Mason said in a statement. “These wages increases
will lift workers out of poverty and inject more than $517
million into Wisconsin’s economy. There is board support across
the political spectrum for raising the minimum wage and valuing
the dignity of work.”
In the study, labor economist David Macpherson of
Trinity University used Census Bureau data to estimate the
impact on Wisconsin’s labor market and budget if the minimum
wage was raised accordingly.
The results suggest that, while many industries
would be negatively impacted by the increase, the retail trade,
arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodations and food
industries would be hit the hardest.
The restaurant industry - particularly tipped
workers - would be especially affected, and a bulk of the job
losses would be concentrated among people with a high school
degree or less, according to the release.
“As our state’s economy begins stabilizing and
adding jobs, now is not the time to prevent hiring and squeeze
business owners’ already razor-thin bottom lines,” said Ed Lump,
CEO of the WRA, in the release. “We should focus on common sense
solutions that create jobs and promote opportunities for workers
of all experience levels. Across the board wage increases will
hurt those who need help the most.”
According to the study, approximately 34,000
state and local employees’ wages would be affected by the $10.10
increase in Wisconsin, which will make for a combined cost to
Wisconsin taxpayers of over $69 million annually.