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Democrats propose higher minimum wage for state contractors

Peter Barca (Photo: Wisconsin Radio Network)
Peter Barca (Photo: Wisconsin Radio Network)

MADISON, Wis (WSAU-WRN)  Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca has announced a bill that would set a living wage for hundreds of people working under state contracts. The Kenosha Democrat would require that contracted employees receive a wage that is at least the federal poverty level for a family of three, or about the same amount as a state employee performing the same duties.

“When you have people who are doing work for the state government, the state should not have to then subsidize BadgerCare or food stamps or other public assistance programs,” Barca said. “If people are working 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, we should pay them enough so that they’re not needing government assistance anymore.”

Barca, whose proposal is based on a state-wide living wage program adopted in Maryland in 2007, said this would save the state money over time. His proposal comes on the heals of President Obama’s announcement that he will issue an executive order setting living wage standards for federally contracted employees.