Dane County Board of Supervisors

Dane County Board of Supervisors voted Thursday to approve a plan to increase the minimum wage for county and contract employees to $15 per hour by 2022. 

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Dane County will implement a plan to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour for county workers by 2022 after a 33-2 vote from the Board of Supervisors Thursday.

The measure would raise the minimum for county employees and contract workers to $12.50 per hour in 2017, adding $0.50 per hour each year until reaching $15 per hour in 2022. Currently, the minimum wage is $11.67 per hour.

“This is an aggressive, financially sound plan based on the best practices from across the country,” Sup. Jeff Pertl, who represents Madison’s far east side, said in a statement. “It protects essential services while catching up wages for some of our most valuable, but lowest paid workers​.”

Across the nation, 29 states and cities — including San Francisco, Seattle and New York — have increased the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Wisconsin has kept the state minimum wage steady with the federal minimum of $7.25, with increases opposed by Gov. Scott Walker and the state Legislature.

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By state law, local governments cannot pass minimum wage laws that would apply to workers in the private sector.

“All workers deserve a livable wage for a hard day’s work and we applaud Dane County for supporting this progressive legislation,” Kevin Gundlach, president of the South Central Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, said in a statement.

County officials estimate the $2 million economic impact of the county’s living wage ordinance is based on a 7.2 percent increase in minimum pay for affected workers. Dane County is expected to pick up $1.1 million of the change, with the balance coming from other sources.

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Abigail Becker joined The Capital Times in 2016, where she primarily covers city and county government. She previously worked for the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism and the Wisconsin State Journal.