Minn House approves minimum wage hike, heads to Governor's desk

By KBJR News 1

Minn House approves minimum wage hike, heads to Governor's desk

April 10, 2014 Updated Apr 10, 2014 at 3:11 PM CST

St. Paul, MN (NNCNOW.com) - In a 71-60 vote Thursday, the Minnesota House approved raising the state's minimum wage to $9.50 by 2016.

The minimum wage will also be increased to inflation starting in 2018 to ensure the value of the minimum wage does not fall over time.

“While Minnesota’s economy is improving there are too many Minnesotans who work hard every day but cannot make enough to make ends meet. It’s time to raise the wage and make hard work pay in Minnesota – now and into the future," said House Speaker Paul Thissen.

Over 357,000 workers will see a raise when the bill is fully implemented.

The bill, which passed the Senate yesterday, now goes to the Governor to be signed into law.

President Obama sent the following statment following the passage of the bill in the House.

"I commend the state legislature for raising their minimum wage and we look forward to Governor Dayton signing the bill into law soon. I urge Congress to follow Minnesota’s lead, raise the federal minimum wage, and lift wages for 28 million Americans. Congress should listen to the majority of Americans who say it’s time to give America a raise and help ensure that no American who works full time has to raise a family in poverty."

Critics of the low wage hike say the move is irresponsible.

"Republicans believe low and middle-income Minnesotans need good-paying jobs. Unfortunately instead of looking for a reasonable solution to protect workers and increase opportunity for job seekers, Democrats are irresponsibly raising the minimum wage by more than 50%," Rep. Kurt Daudt said in a statement.

Breakdown of the bill

•$9.50 minimum wage for businesses with gross sales over $500,000 in 2016. $8.00 in August 2014, $9.00 in August 2015.

•$7.75 minimum wage for businesses under $500,000 in gross sales in 2016. $6.50 in August 2014, $7.25 in August 2015.

•The $7.75 minimum wage rate would also apply for large businesses in the following circumstances: 90 day training wage for 18 and 19 year olds, all 16 and 17 year olds and employees working under a J1 visa.

•Beginning in 2018, all wages would increase each year on January 1st by inflation measured by the implicit price deflator capped at 2.5%.

• The indexed increase could be suspended for one year by the Commissioner of DOLI if leading economic indicators indicate the possibility of a substantial downturn in the economy. The suspension could only be implemented after a public hearing and public comment period. In better economic times, the suspended inflationary increase or a lesser amount could be added back into the minimum wage rate in a subsequent year.

Written by Kevin Jacobsen
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