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Tiered proposal ought to be taken seriously
Jon Tevlin’s May 22 column (“Amid a rising tide, minimum wage hike bogs down in politics”) would have benefited from a conversation with a manager or owner of one of Minnesota’s nearly 10,000 restaurants.
The restaurant and hospitality industry is the second-largest employment sector in the state. But table-service restaurants are facing pressure from higher costs for food, transportation and energy; from the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and from restaurants that take orders at a counter or using iPads.
The legislative proposal supported by table-service restaurants around the state was not “the old tip credit attack,” as Tevlin described it. It was a new concept in which a tipped employee who earns at least $12 per hour including tips would continue to receive the current base minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. If that employee didn’t make $12 an hour during the pay period, he or she would earn the new minimum-wage level plus tips. Under this tiered plan for tipped employees, no one’s wages would be reduced, and a new floor of $12 per hour would be established, higher than any of the minimum-wage proposals considered at the State Capitol.
This is a balanced proposal that deserves fair consideration as we try to provide good jobs for servers and keep table-service restaurants viable in Minnesota.
SCOTT WINER, Plymouth
The writer is vice president of the Minnesota Restaurant Association.
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A tough job it has, enforcing that law
Thanks to a pair of New York Times reporters for finally taking a harder look at the task faced by IRS workers who have struggled to sort out groups eligible for 501(c)(4) nonprofit status (“Groups chafing at IRS tested political limits,” May 27). I have been disturbed by failure of any media to do this earlier, since the flap arose about it in Washington.
Under 501(c)(4) status, groups whose primary purpose is political are able to claim “social welfare” status in order to protect the identities of their political contributors. If they were true social welfare organizations, they’d seek 501(c)(3) status and stay out of political campaigns. The problem rests in the outrageous law that serves political entities of all ideological stripes, but the so-called “Tea Party” and “Patriot” groups have chosen to maximize their use of it.
Congress, rather than the IRS, should be investigated for creating this problem.
LOU SCHOEN, St. Louis Park
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.