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Minimum Wage Increase Awaits Gov. Dayton's Signature

PHOTO: Gov. Mark Dayton is expected to sign the minimum wage bill on Monday, raising the minimum to $9.50 an hour by 2016. Photo credit: Fibonacci Blue
PHOTO: Gov. Mark Dayton is expected to sign the minimum wage bill on Monday, raising the minimum to $9.50 an hour by 2016. Photo credit: Fibonacci Blue
April 11, 2014

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Legislation raising the minimum wage in Minnesota has now won full approval at the state Capitol and is headed to the desk of Gov. Mark Dayton for his signature.

The bill increases the minimum to $9.50 an hour by 2016.

Peggy Flanagan, executive director of Children's Defense Fund-Minnesota, says that will bring families across the state more financial stability, key to a child's future success in education and life.

"This increase in family income is really going to improve child outcomes,” she stresses. “So we have consistently viewed an increase in the minimum wage as a children's issue as well as an early childhood issue and worth the investment to families."

Nearly 140,000 Minnesota children live in families where at least one parent will see wages increase.

Minnesota Republicans voted against the hike, saying that forcing businesses to pay a higher minimum will result in higher prices and job cuts.

Flanagan says she thinks it'll provide an economic boost, with those extra wages being funneled back into businesses.

"Four-hundred and 70 million dollars is going to be pumped into Minnesota's economy through consumer spending, and so we actually think that the effect will be good for business and for the economic climate here in Minnesota," she maintains.

The increased minimum will come through a series of three steps.

It will start with a hike to $8 this August, then increase to $8.50 next year and reach $9.50 an hour starting in 2016.

Flanagan says future increases from there will be automatic and linked to inflation.

"We applaud the Senate and the House for having indexing be part of this final deal, because families need predictability,” she says. “They need to be able to budget, and this allows families to see an increase in their income every year."

The annual raises will be capped at 2.5 percent per year and the formula could be suspended in the future if economic conditions deteriorate.

The increase in the minimum is expected to raise the wages of as many as 350,000 - workers.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - MN