I would urge you to reject any proposal that would forever trade away the right of local units of government to set the minimum wage locally, in exchange for a one-time concession on a statewide minimum wage increase. It is only because of the proliferation of local minimum wages that the legislative majority is even considering a statewide increase. It would be extremely short-sighted to forever surrender that leverage, in exchange for a one-time increase in the state minimum wage.These days, there is a lot of attention to federalism -- the division of power between the federal government and the states -- but we do not often think about the division of power between the state government and the cities. We don't even have a word for that relationship, do we?
The people of Madison have their own distinctive ideas -- which I frequently disagree with -- but I want to support experimentation and decentralization. Maybe it's a mistake, but it's us. On the other hand, a minority within the city may be a majority within the state. If Madison behaves foolishly -- perhaps because of the high concentration of University folk -- shouldn't the state government respond to the hardworking business owners who can't get what they want from the city? The Mayor's argument reveals that he's not just concerned with the localized expression of values; he's trying to use city government to leverage a movement at the state level.