Manuel "Manny" Pérez
Pérez proposed his own economic concept to increase state worker minimum wage without increasing labor costs to companies. He says, that both Governor Scott Walker (R) who is running for re-election and his Democratic challenger Mary Burke have received his living wage proposal.
By H. Nelson Goodson
October 18, 2014
Milwaukee, WI - On Thursday, Manuel "Manny" Pérez, the current executive director for Esperanza Unida, Inc. and former Governor Scott Walker's Secretary for Wisconsin Department of Work Development told Hispanic News Network U.S.A. (HNNUSA) that he has an innovative plan, which would increase worker wages without increasing labor costs to companies. Pérez confirmed, that his plan to raise the minimum wage to provide a living wage for those struggling to survive on $7.25 per hour can be increased, contradicting Governor Walker's belief that $7.25 is a living wage for those living in poverty in Wisconsin. Walker and the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) consider the current state's minimum wage a living wage for Wisconsinites.
About 100 minimum underpaid workers filed a complaint with Governor Scott Walker's office on September 24 claiming that making $290 per week or $7.25 per hour is not a living wage under state law. Early in October, Robert Rodriguez, an administrador for the Equal Rights Division with the Wisconsin DWD on behalf of Governor Walker send out letters to about 100 underpaid workers who filed a complaint that the minimum wage was not a "living wage." Rodriguez wrote, "The Department has determined that there is no reasonable cause to believe that the wages paid to the complainants are not a living wage."
Wisconsin Jobs Now stated, "It is outrageous for the Walker administration to claim that there is no reasonable cause to believe that $7.25 (the minimum wage) is not a living wage...But for the governor to brazenly say to the working families of Wisconsin that $7.25 an hour is enough to sustain themselves is not only misguided, it is incredibly ignorant and willfully obtuse...The fact that Governor Walker thinks that $290 a week is what it costs to cover the basics of life in Wisconsin is beyond comprehension."
Pérez's proposal "consists of implementing targetted tax breaks for a company and workers to effectively bring to offset the labor cost and the taxes paid by workers on the wage differential. For example, a company can receive a tax break for the increased wage and the worker can receive a tax break for the wage differential. This can be done via the corporate taxes and the Earned income tax credit for workers." Pérez said, that "we need workers producing and consuming and companies producing and investing. Together with additional training we can help workers earn more money now and in the future." He is also proposing that money spent by workers for their own trainning should be tax deductible."We must empower workers to succeed" Pérez says. Pérez provided copies of his proposal to both democrats and republicans as well as the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance and the State Department of Revenue.
Pérez stated, "This is a proposal both democrats and republicans should be able to support because it benefits both workers and companies at the same time. The next step should be to conduct the needed technical scenario analysis to establish the optimal thresholds, agree on assumptions, and implement in a credible, reliable manner."
Pérez is the former Chair of the Wisconsin Hispanic Republican National Assembly and Secretary for the Republican National Hispanic Assembly (2010).