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Continued: Minnesota makes history with largest minimum wage hike

  • Article by: BAIRD HELGESON , Star Tribune
  • Last update: April 14, 2014 - 10:18 PM

“Today represents a big step forward for low-wage workers in our community,” said Sen. Jeff Hayden, DFL-Minneapolis, who was a chief supporter of the wage-hike measure. “We rely on these workers every day, yet many of them cannot support their own families. Raising the minimum wage is part of a larger effort to lift up the working poor and ensure all Minnesotans have the opportunity to earn enough to get by.”

A Minnesotan who earns $6.15 per hour working full time earns an annual salary of $12,792 — about $7,000 below the poverty line. Raising the minimum wage to $9.50 per hour brings that same worker’s salary within $30 of closing that gap.

To help small businesses, the new law establishes lower minimum wage requirements for small employers and young workers. The minimum hourly wage for smaller employers in the state will top out at $7.75 in 2016.

Some Republicans have threatened to rescind the higher wage if they return to power at the Capitol, saying the higher wage will be a blow to the economy.

“After weeks of political backroom dealing, Democrats finally reached a deal that will take more money from Minnesota businesses and put thousands of Minnesotans out of work,” said state Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington.

Dayton sharply criticized Republicans and some business groups who say the higher wage could drive some businesses to leave the state.

“The opposite is true,” Dayton said, noting that Minnesota businesses created 155,000 new jobs since he took office more than three years ago. These employers and the people who are working “speak louder than the empty political rhetoric.”

 

Baird Helgeson • 651-925-5044

 

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