ST. PAUL, Minn. (April 10, 2014) — On Monday, DFL leaders in the House and Senate announced a deal to raise the minimum wage to $9.50 by 2016. While Minnesota’s economy is improving, it has not improved for everyone.
“The Minnesota Legislature took action to increase the state minimum wage, giving more hardworking Minnesotans the raise they deserve,” said President Barack Obama in a press statement. “With this important step, Minnesota joins a growing coalition of states, cities, counties and businesses that have taken action to do the right thing for their workers and their citizens. 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.”
“Low-income and working class families struggle to keep up with the rising costs of living,” said Minn. State Rep. Rena Moran (65A). “Raising the minimum wage will help raise members of our community out poverty and provide them with more economic security that they need and deserve.”
Minnesota has the third lowest wage in the entire country at a mere $6.15, well below the federal minimum wage of $7.25. The last time we increased the minimum wage happened nearly a decade year ago. Since that time, wages have not kept up with the increasing costs of living such as housing, groceries, gas and other necessities.
“Raising the minimum wage and indexing it to the rate of inflation will give 357,000 working Minnesotans a pay raise,” said Rep. Moran. “Doing so will allow families to keep up with the rising costs of living instead of continuing to fall farther and farther behind.”
The bill would increase the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour for large employers and $7.75 for small employers, phasing in the increase by 2016. Beginning in 2018, the minimum wage rate would be tied to the rate of inflation, increasing each year on January 1st, to ensure workers earning the minimum wage will not fall behind as the cost of living increases in the future.
“People who work full time should not have to live in poverty,” said Rep. Moran. “It is time to raise the minimum wage to $9.50 and indexing it to the rate of inflation to help working Minnesotans in neighborhoods like ours to provide for themselves and their families.”