|Tamarine Cornelius, 608-284-0580 x 305
A proposed increase in Wisconsin’s minimum wage would give thousands of workers a raise, allowing them to earn enough additional money to pay for a car repair or a month’s groceries for a family, a new analysis by the Wisconsin Budget Project shows.
Governor Evers’ budget proposal gradually increases the minimum wage to $10.50 over the next four years. That change would give 1 out of every 6 Wisconsin workers a raise, and generate $387 million more in wages for low-paid workers.
“People working full time should earn enough to pay for basic needs like shelter and food, but that isn’t always possible given that Wisconsin’s minimum wage remains stuck at $7.25,” said Tamarine Cornelius, an analyst at Wisconsin Budget Project. “Our analysis shows that raising the minimum wage would boost worker pay and improve the well-being of families and communities.”
The analysis shows that a diverse group of workers would benefit from raising Wisconsin’s minimum wage. Increasing the minimum wage to $10.50 would raise the pay of 464,000 workers in Wisconsin, or nearly 1 out of every 6 workers (16%). The vast majority of workers – 75% – who would get a raise are age 20 or older, with teenagers making up only one-quarter of affected workers. Sixty-one percent of the workers who would get a raise are women. Twenty percent of affected workers are parents, with the average worker with a child providing 55% of their family’s total income.
Raising the minimum wage would lift wages for workers of color. More than one quarter (28%) of Black workers and nearly a third (31%) of Hispanic workers would get a raise if Wisconsin’s minimum wage were increased to $10.50. Still, the large majority of workers who would get a raise (74%) are white.
Full-time workers who get a raise would earn an additional $800 a year, according to the analysis.
“An enormous body of research examining the real-world effects of minimum wage hikes finds that raising the minimum wage has little, if any impact on employment levels,” said Cornelius. “Wisconsin’s economy can afford to increase the minimum wage.”