Minimum wage could be defining issue in Governor's race - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Minimum wage could be defining issue in Governor's race

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MADISON (WKOW) -- One issue Governor Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin) has never side-stepped is his position on minimum wage, opposing a raise and even going so far as to say it doesn't serve a purpose earlier this week.
   
Democratic challenger Mary Burke couldn't disagree more, wanting to raise it from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour.

The difference could prove to be a defining one in the last few weeks of the race.

"I support it because it's the right thing to do.  It's going to help grow our economy," Burke told 27 News in Middleton on Thursday.  "It makes perfect sense, common sense that people who are earning $7.25 an hour aren't able to support themselves without government assistance."

But Republicans insist Burke has it backwards, saying what workers want is more opportunity.

"We've grown in personal income here in Wisconsin while he's been Governor," said Brian Schimming, Vice-Chair of the Republican Party of Wisconsin.  "The jobs are growing, all those good indicators are happening.  That's what we've got to focus our time on, instead of getting all political about  minimum wage or any other issue."

But Burke insists raising the minimum wage is not political, because it would have positive, real-life implications.

"By raising the minimum wage, we put more money into our economy because that money's going to get spent," said Burke.  "We reduce the budgets - whether its federal or state - in terms of public assistance and people are better able to support themselves.

Every recent poll has shown a majority of Wisconsin voters agree with Burke, but not all of them support her candidacy.

"I mean, she needs that to win and the numbers show that it's not gonna happen," said Schimming.

While Burke needs to pick up more support, so does Gov. Walker.  The latest Marquette Law School Poll released on Wednesday shows the race is tied at 47-47 percent among likely voters. 

While Governor Walker does still have a lead if you average all of the most recent polls, it is less than one percent. Wisconsin's gubernatorial election is now the closest in the country.
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