More than 325,000 Minnesotans will benefit from the Minimum Wage Law passed this week. According to an article in the Star Tribune, 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. During my speech on the House floor, I stressed that historically a rise in the minimum wage results in growth in the local economy because families have more to spend. I also said that this law will go far address our nation’s income inequality which favors big business but doesn’t favor people. Minnesota has had one of the lowest minimum wages in the nation, and it was a personal goal of mine when I was elected as a Representative to address this issue. People who work full-time shouldn’t have to live so far below the poverty line.
A Session Daily article provides details of the bill:
- $8 minimum hourly wage for businesses with gross sales of at least $500,000 in August 2014, $9 in August 2015 and $9.50 one year later;
- $6.50 minimum hourly wage for businesses under $500,000 in gross sales in 2014, $7.25 in August 2015 and $7.75 one year later;
- 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 Jan. 1 by inflation measured by the implicit price deflator capped at 2.5 percent; and
- the indexed increase could be suspended for one year by the commissioner of the Department of Labor and Industry 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.