Another sliver of good news in Wisconsin's election results: Minimum wage hike and Medicaid expansion referenda win big | WisCommunity

Another sliver of good news in Wisconsin's election results: Minimum wage hike and Medicaid expansion referenda win big

Thirteen cities or counties representing a significant proportion of the state's entire population voted Tuesday on a referendum asking whether the state should raise its long-stagnant minimum wage. Twenty cities and counties representing an even greater proportion of residents voted in a referendum on whether the state should accept 100 percent federal funding to expand Medicaid to now-uncovered citizens through Wisconsin's BadgerCare program. The results of these non-binding votes were overwhelmingly against re-elected Gov. Scott Walker's positions on the two matters.

The first line below is the final result in favor of expanding Medicaid, and the second line is the final result in favor of raising the minimum wage:

 

#cccccc; width: 931px; height: 23px;" dir="ltr" border="1" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0">
#000000;" data-sheets-value="[null,2,"STATEWIDE"]">BADGERCARE #000000; border-right: 1px solid ; border-bottom: 1px solid ; font-size: 110%; white-space: nowrap; text-align: right;" data-sheets-value="[null,3,null,747031]" data-sheets-numberformat="[null,2,"#,###",1]">| 747,031 #000000; border-right: 1px solid ; border-bottom: 1px solid ; font-size: 110%; white-space: nowrap; text-align: right;" data-sheets-value="[null,3,null,276645]" data-sheets-numberformat="[null,2,"#,###",1]">   | 276,645 | #000000; border-right: 1px solid ; border-bottom: 1px solid ; font-size: 110%; font-weight: bold; white-space: nowrap; text-align: right;" data-sheets-value="[null,3,null,0.73]" data-sheets-numberformat="[null,3,"0%",1]">73% #000000; border-right: 1px solid ; border-bottom: 1px solid ; font-size: 110%; font-weight: bold; white-space: nowrap; text-align: right;" data-sheets-value="[null,3,null,0.27]" data-sheets-numberformat="[null,3,"0%",1]">|27%

 

#000000;">  #000000; border-right: 1px solid ; border-bottom: 1px solid ; font-size: 110%; white-space: nowrap;" data-sheets-value="[null,2,"STATEWIDE"]">MIN WAGE #000000; border-right: 1px solid ; border-bottom: 1px solid ; font-size: 110%; white-space: nowrap; text-align: right;" data-sheets-value="[null,3,null,598333]" data-sheets-numberformat="[null,2,"#,###",1]">| 598,333 #000000; border-right: 1px solid ; border-bottom: 1px solid ; font-size: 110%; white-space: nowrap; text-align: right;" data-sheets-value="[null,3,null,289742]" data-sheets-numberformat="[null,2,"#,###",1]">  | 289,742 #000000; border-right: 1px solid ; border-bottom: 1px solid ; font-size: 110%; font-weight: bold; white-space: nowrap; text-align: right;" data-sheets-value="[null,3,null,0.67]" data-sheets-numberformat="[null,3,"0%"]">| 67% #000000; border-right: 1px solid ; border-bottom: 1px solid ; font-size: 110%; font-weight: bold; white-space: nowrap; text-align: right;" data-sheets-value="[null,3,null,0.33]" data-sheets-numberformat="[null,3,"0%"]">| 33%

 

Interestingly, the state referendum result on the minimum wage comes close to matching the percentage obtained from voters in all 50 states (see chart, above). Raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour gets huge support everywhere, and Wisconsin comes close to matching that support.

Now, if you are truly a governor concerned with representing all the people, someone truly interested in listening to them and not just a handful of wealthy special interests,  along with your own inner ideology, what would you do next?

Note, by the way, that Walker and conservative interest groups have pooh-poohed the question of raising the minimum wage. First, employing a non sequitur, they say they're focused on creating higher paying jobs, as if that would wipe out demand for workers at the current minimum wage. They've also said, in effect, that the referendum was out of context. Chamber of Commerce types slyly suggested voters also should have been asked if raising the minimum wage would still be a good idea if it cost jobs. But studies have shown that the overall economic benefits of a higher minimum wage are always greater than its costs.

Of course, these same conservatives never want voters to know the negative side effects of, for example, cutting taxes on the wealthy; nope, that'd be a straight, up-or-down proposition, if those guys even ever bothered to ask citizens to vote on the idea. Simplicity for Republicans, complexity for the rest of us. Some deal.

Published

November 5, 2014 - 8:46am

Author