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Assembly passes bill outlawing living wage ordinance tied to state, federal tax dollars

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Wisconsin communities could still have "living wage" ordinances, as long as state tax money is not used to cover the higher minimums.

The state Assembly voted 56-37 Thursday night to put limits on the local laws which are in effect in Milwaukee, Madison, and Dane County. They require minimums higher than the state's rate of $7.25 an hour for government employees and contractors.

The Milwaukee County Board recently passed a minimum wage of $11.32 an hour for county workers. That's the federal poverty rate for a family of four.  

It spurred Assembly Republican Chris Kapenga of Delafield to sponsor a bill banning all living wage ordinances. Republicans later modified the measure so it applies only when state and federal tax dollars are used to pay the higher wages.

GOP Speaker Robin Vos also expressed concerns that the ordinances result in fewer service hours under the state's Family Care program.

Democrats complained about a loss of local control. The bill now goes to the Senate.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)