County Board overrides Abele’s veto of “living wage” ordinance

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) — The Milwaukee County Board, in a 12-6 vote on Thursday, March 20th voted to override County Executive Chris Abele’s veto of a “living wage” ordinance.

The ordinance would raise the minimum wage to $11.33 an hour for county employees, and employees of companies that have a contract with the county.

The vote count from Thursday matches the board’s February 6th approval of the law.

Milwaukee County Supervisor David Bowen is the main sponsor of the bill. He issued the following statement after Thursday’s vote:

“Milwaukee County joined more than 140 municipalities all over the country who have made it a priority to invest in a thriving local economy with thousands of publicly supported poverty level jobs changed to good jobs. 

This a major win for all low-wage workers who hope to have access to good jobs that raises wages to support families if the State of Wisconsin decides to raise the minimum wage.

We are glad the County Executive agrees that income inequality is a problem in the State of Wisconsin and our nation. It’s good that we agree in the concept of raising wages for the lowest paid workers. But a two-thirds majority of us on the County Board believe in actual action and not just lip service. 

The County Executive’s veto of this ordinance is very telling in his stance to help those who make the least among us.

We have publicly debated this topic for months and there is nothing else to debate. I am glad my colleagues voted to override this veto to go beyond talking about problems in veto messages that include false information and move forward to actually doing something about it.”

County Executive Chris Abele vetoed the proposal on Wednesday, arguing it would put Milwaukee County at a “competitive disadvantage” and would increase public spending.

The “living wage ordinance” is predicted to cost Milwaukee County $4.2 million more a year in 2015 and $7.3 million more by 2019.

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