Senate passes legislation raising minimum wage, strengthening working families
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Senate lawmakers passed legislation yesterday, May 8, raising Minnesota’s minimum wage to $7.75 an hour by 2015. Over the past 30 years, wages for lower and middle income Minnesotans have stagnated, while housing, child care, energy, transportation and health care costs have risen. Senator John Hoffman (DFL-Champlin), a co-author of the minimum wage bill, believes boosting the rate will be good for Minnesota’s whole economy.
“Whether it’s a teenager with a part time job, or a low income worker struggling to stretch each paycheck, putting more money in the pockets of minimum wage earners is good for the whole economy. Honest, hard working people deserve a fair wage,” commented Sen. Hoffman following the bill’s passage.
Research shows that the minimum wage has not kept pace with the needs of working families. Currently, about 20 percent of Minnesota jobs pay less than $10.03 an hour, which is what the federal minimum wage would be today if it had been increased for inflation since the late 1960s. Furthermore, studies show that children from families with sufficient financial resources are more likely than children from low-income families to flourish in the K-12 system and be successful later in life.
“Rewarding work just makes sense,” continued Sen. Hoffman. “Increased family income can dramatically enhance the life outcomes of children. The best stimulus isn’t government spending, its working class spending. It’s good for Minnesota when people have more money in their pockets.”
On Friday of last week, Minnesota House members passed a minimum wage bill raising the rate to $9.50 by 2015. Both bills are expected to be referred to a conference committee where these differences can be worked out and a compromise sent to both floors for a final vote.