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La Crosse mayor wants to set higher minimum wage within city



If La Crosse Mayor Tim Kabat had his way, the state and federal minimum wages would be irrelevant in the city. 

From the WIZM studio Thursday, Kabat said he’d like to set a local minimum wage that meets a livable standard. On top of that, it could also entice some to apply for jobs that go unfilled.

“I have said that to the friends at the Chamber of Commerce, that I do hear, every day or just about, that we need more workers and part of that is supply and demand,” Kabat said.

The mayor thinks between $12 and $15 an hour would be about right for the city of La Crosse in order to meet the basic, minimum needs to live.

“I believe that’s something we should have the ability, locally, to have discussion  to use the democratic process  and to say, ‘Hey, based on, kind of our own situation that we’ve got here, wages should be changed.'”

State legislators have prevented local governments from setting their own minimum wages.

“If folks were paid more, I think you would see better qualified folks applying for jobs,” Kabat said. “But, nevertheless, the state does not allow us to do that.”

If it were to happen, legislators in Madison would have to change state rules.

The state minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. Come Jan. 1, Minnesota’s minimum wage — adjusted each year for inflation — will jump to $8.04 an hour for small employers and $9.86 for large.

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