DFLers want to raise minimum wage 30 percent to $9.50

minimum wage MN.jpeg
Tomassoni (left) and Hortman (right) want to raise the state minimum wage above the federal level.
During his State of the Union speech last night, President Obama called for the federal minimum wage to be raised to $9 an hour. Two DFL lawmakers want to do him one better.

SEE ALSO: Tom Emmer goes after food server wages

A bill introduced in the House by Rep. Melissa Hortman, D-Brooklyn Park, and in the Senate by Sen. David Tomassoni, D-Chisholm, would raise Minnesota's minimum wage all the way up to $9.50 an hour, a more than 30 percent increase over the current federal rate of $7.25.

Since 2005, Minnesota's minimum wage has been $6.15 for large employers and $5.25 for small employers. But in most instances, the federal rate prevails, as explained in this Department of Labor FAQ:
What is the federal minimum wage?

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the federal minimum wage for covered nonexempt employees is $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009. Many states also have minimum wage laws. Where an employee is subject to both the state and federal minimum wage laws, the employee is entitled to the higher minimum wage rate.

Various minimum wage exceptions apply under specific circumstances to workers with disabilities, full-time students, youth under age 20 in their first 90 consecutive calendar days of employment, tipped employees and student-learners.
More information about the Hortman/Tomassoni bill comes via Politics in Minnesota:
In addition to raising the minimum wage, the bill would fund childcare assistance programs and provide per-child tax credits for families.

"Poor people are poor because they don't have a lot of money, and the sad part is a lot of poor people are working people," Hortman, a DFL House member from Brooklyn Park, said while surrounded by clergy members and union representatives who support the bill. Hortman said the bill got a "big shot in the arm" from President Barack Obama, who said in his State of the Union address on Tuesday that he would like to see the federal minimum wage raised to $9 an hour.

For Tomassoni, giving more money to workers is good for the economy. "This is about putting some buying power into some people's pocket," the senator from Chisholm said.
But restaurant owners, in particular, are opposed to increasing the minimum wage, as explained by the Employment Policies Institute's Michael Saltsman:
Minnesota is one of seven states that does not permit employers to count the tips earned by restaurant employees as income. As a consequence, the base wage for tipped employees is already 240 percent above the federal level. The DFL proposal would widen this gap, and link it to inflation, causing it to grow most years thereafter...

Local businesses in Minnesota can help provide context -- businesses like the River Oasis Cafe, a diner in Stillwater. Purchased five years ago by Craig Beemer, the cafe has 17 employees and annual sales just over the threshold the state uses to distinguish a "small" from a "large" business.

Beemer doesn't feel like a large business. Even on busy weekend mornings, he has just seven people on the floor -- four servers, two cooks and one dishwasher. Last year, as the owner of the business, he estimates his income was only about 20 percent higher than the top-earning employee on his wait staff.

Running the numbers on the proposed increase in the minimum wage, Beemer estimates an increase in labor costs of more than $20,000. Labor costs, however, already eat up 31 percent of his sales revenue, and food costs consume another 34 percent. After paying rent and other expenses, Beemer's profit margin -- the amount the business keeps from each sales dollar -- is 2.8 percent.

If the minimum wage were increased from $7.25 to $9.38 per hour, Beemer said, "I don't think it's possible to operate my business profitably without making significant changes to our business model." With his prices already raised to the upper limit of what he believes his customers will pay, Beemer said, changing his business to a "fast casual" model, where customers place their order at the counter, may be the only way to operate profitably.

The servers who used to wait on customers -- the servers whom the DFL wants to help with this hike -- would unfortunately be out of work.
Here's a possible compromise: Raise the minimum wage to at least the federal level for untipped workers, but leave the minimum wage for tipped workers unchanged.

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65 comments
polarmer28
polarmer28

Raising the minimum wage to $9.50 is ridiculous, but I think it should be raised to the federal level. I was a Minneapolis resident throughout my adolescent years and began working at 14-years-old as a dishwasher. I was paid minimum wage ($5.25 at the time), and made tips. But in retrospect, I was a child and there are adults (from all nations, ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds) who have jobs that pay a similar rate. 

I think that most cities are far too generous on their welfare policies. Whether immigrants, low-income families, or disabled people are the recievers of these benefits is irrelevant. Higher paying jobs that are typically occupied by "poor" people (not to mention students, mentally handicapped, etc) would elimintate some of the responsibility on the state and federal level. If these people can hardly afford to live, recieve healthcare, pay for their children's preschool education, or any other matter, guess who pays for it--we do. And guess what, to everyone on here whining about this and that and taking cheap shots at each other......nothing you say is going to change that. But people can lobby and get involved. 

Minneapolis is no Los Angeles ($8.00min wage), and the cost of living is not what it is in other larger cities. But Minneapolis is supposed to be a beacon of progressive thinking. Welfare is not the solution. Giving people the ability to take care of business is the best solution. You can't change the fact that people choose to have larger families, or that many students don't have financial support from their families, or that immigrants didn't learn English or other work-related knowledge on their plane ride. You also can't help the fact that when hundreds of thousands of people can't pay for their medical assistance, taxpayers front the bill--and its one whopper of a bill. Giving people a chance to take control of their lives is necessary. Tips or no tips, how can one accomplish this with an average of $6/hr? And believe me, the tips, when split, were never more than $5 on a good day. Wages shouldn't be a gamble based on someone's mood that day, and I shouldn't feel encouraged to tip someone because they "depend on it."

FYI, I'm an African-American female who is a double-major in college and who doesn't have any children. Until I get my degree and that piece of paper gets me a higher paying job, I'm stuck swimming in college debt that I'll probably take to my grave. I can't afford medical, or dental. I have no family to lean on, and I choose not to use welfare services. I'm telling you, its not a walk in the park and I'll be damned if someone tells me its my fault.

TheConservativeJerk
TheConservativeJerk topcommenter

If you make $12 per hour YOU SHOULD BE BITCHING!!!!!

Every time you push up the minimum wage, prices of products and services follow. 

did you know that an employee working at Starbucks in Switzerland earns $35+ an hour?

Did you know that an hot chocolate at Starbucks in Switzerland costs $11?

Hmmm, why is that?

Fools...

Roger Doyle Taylor
Roger Doyle Taylor

On the news, they said it was $6.15 in some places in MN, is that right?

Michael Ordonez
Michael Ordonez

@Ryan On a half way decent night she probably makes at least 25.00 an hour, its not that hard, lots of servers make more. Most of which is cash. I have worked in the industry for years an extra 1.75 wont help anything. All it will do is raise the prices on everything in the place, so it will cost her more each time she wants to go out to eat and drink, so It really won't help anyone. It will be the same effect that happened when they raised it to 7.25, Everything in the place goes up to make up for that extra 1.75 an hour the establishment has to pay.

MN_Rebel
MN_Rebel

A side note on the restaurant owner bitching - 

Restaurants have NEVER had to pay the same minimum wage as other businesses.  NEVER.   So, why isn't that mentioned here?   The minimum may go up some for him as a restaurant owner, but it won't be $9 an hour.   Tips are considered pay and they count toward your total take home, that is why the minimum for food service staff has ALWAYS been considerably lower. 


Again, bunch of assholes responding here.  High-fiving against poor people is truly disgusting...thanks for showing your true colors.  Could you both state your full names and what cities you live in?  I am making a map chronicling asshole concentrations in the metro area.

keny1
keny1

"Poor people are poor because they don't have a lot of money, and the sad part is a lot of poor people are working people," Hortman, a DFL House member from Brooklyn Park, said......"

No, poor people are poor because they don't have a lot of money because they made bad decisions in life. If they had finished high school, went to a trade school or a college and got a degree in a field that pays a "livable" wage, they wouldn't have to be concerned with what the minimum wage is. Furthermore, it seems that "poor" people really enjoy having kids that they cannot afford to take care of. I do not feel sorry for anyone who works at Target for $7.50/hr and has 4 kids to support on that type of income. This has nothing to do with minimum wage. Wages are determined by the market, just like prices are. The lower quality of a product commands a lower price. The same is true with labor.

j.reiter
j.reiter

I have a solution to solve all problems, make the minimum wage $50 an hour!  and to make up for past wrongs, anyone who isn't a heterosexual white male gets $100 an hour!!! 

Dan Mason
Dan Mason

Tips for service industry workers should not count towards their minimum wage. Especially with all these cheap assholes pretending that their 10% tip is some generous gift.

Rey Velasco
Rey Velasco

On a related topic, I assume all of you calling corporations evil have not invested in any mutual funds that contain for profit businesses, right? That would be hypocrisy.

Rey Velasco
Rey Velasco

The market should set the pay level. If your skill is worth $10, and you want $15 you need to improve your skill. Arbitrarily raising pay does nothing but raise the cost of living for everyone. Some tasks demand more skill and pay reflects that fact, get over it.

digitalprotocol
digitalprotocol topcommenter

DFL is stupid...how could this ever work

what about jobs that pay liveable wages

Michael O'Neill
Michael O'Neill

Guys, we're smart people. We can think creatively to solve problems! We ought not to tie a knot around the poor and pull on opposite ends (min wage increase vs not). We can find common interests (e.g., people able to feed themselves by hard work, etc). There are all sorts of creative solutions that economists have proposed. Let's champion those versus raising min wage, which every macro economics textbook (most economists are liberal) tells us cause under employment.

Royce Lawson
Royce Lawson

I would highly recommend the book "23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism" by Ha-Joon Chang a specialist development ecomonics and Reader in the Political Economy of Development at Cambridge University. This is not an anti-capitalism polemic but a sensible reminder of some realities.

Royce Lawson
Royce Lawson

If they are serious about turning around the economy put the money in the hands of the real wealth generators - the everyday folks. Without redress of the growing chasm between the "haves and have nots" the downward spiral will continue. And that's not a world anyone wants to live in even the rich. The over reliance on austherity is running european economies into the ground. One would think even Adam Smith could get behind a sensible minimum wage.

Carole M Franson
Carole M Franson

@William, Lindsey and Chris. I live with my elderly mother in her one-bedrom condo in Edina to assist her. I choose to work a barista job that doesn't pay much above minimum wage so I can concentrate on building my own businesses. I don't receive benefits. I pay a high premium to Minnesota Care for health insurance because I was turned down for other health insurance. I'm not opposed to paying for my health conditions but pay more than I should. Still, "Obama-care" is not the answer. Nor, is higher minimum wage. I have my college degree and worked many years for corporations. Getting one's education is still key and leads to self-sufficiency and the best opportunities but nothing should be handed to you without working for it. What I'm saying is people have a stake in heir own destiny and can't rely on government. My immigrant ancestors and their offspring haven't. There will always be a portion of the population who need assistance, I.e., disabled, mentally-ill, etc. But the majority of us need to use our talents, initiative and skills to succeed. If it means you have to choose from having children or a certain vehicle or living in high-priced housing or paying for college, folks have to prioritize. Minimum wage jobs are stepping stone, not a career.

Juniper Lee
Juniper Lee

I cant think of a single human being who can manage on $7.50/hour! Baby-sitters make more than that! It's mean, it's sad, it's keeps the impoverished poor and the white collars, white.

Tasha Lance Njoes
Tasha Lance Njoes

Funny people don't want minimum wage to go up but also don't want these people making $7.25 an hour to get food stamps or government assistance either.

Kris Peters
Kris Peters

Actually, it should be noted that Minnesota's minimum wage is lower ($6.15/hr) and that businesses, dependent on size, do not have to adhere to the federal law. So, any federal increase might not impact the state). We are 1 of 2 states in the north that does not observe the federal minimum wage. http://www.dol.gov/whd/minwage/america.htm

Jean Murra
Jean Murra

WI has a bill proposing to raise the minimum wage in the state. I wrote an e-mail to my representative (John Murtha, who I did not vote for, btw) encouraing him to support this bil. I received an e-mail back stating that he would not because (1) minimum wage was created for entry level jobs, not family sustaining jobs; (2) When you raise minimum wage you have to raise everyone else's wages as well; and (3) if you raise minimum wage ir gives businesses less money to invest back in the community. I couldn't believe it, really? That's your answer? Needless to say I sent a follow-up e-mail, haven't gotten a response to that one yet.

Amy Froberg
Amy Froberg

Not a career path? I would not want to live in a world where everyone held a CEO title. No real work would get done. At the end of the day, someone, somewhere still needs to do the cleaning, the cooking, etc. that so many "above" feel are beneath them. The only ones that show the need for entitlement are those higher up on the economic chain.

Chrissy Burgell
Chrissy Burgell

I hear you, Carole! Who do these people think they are trying to afford food and rent at the SAME TIME?! Entitled jerks.

Tao Chan
Tao Chan

"Tonight, let’s declare that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, NO ONE WHO WORKS FULL-TIME SHOULD HAVE TO LIVE IN POVERTY, and raise the federal minimum wage to $9.00 an hour.We should be able to get that done."

Matthias Weigel
Matthias Weigel

They will not. If everyone has to pay a higher wage, everyone will need to raise their prices slightly. Every small business will be in the same position, just like every past wage increase. Keep in mind that now there is a larger base of potential customers for your product as those earning minimum wage might have more disposable income. Your argument does not take the entire economic impact into consideration, it's just an oversimplified talking point.

Matthias Weigel
Matthias Weigel

And still not enough to pay for basic shelter and food. Oh and Peter, I suppose all those past increases made small businesses go away too...oh wait, it didn't. Spoken like someone who has never owned a business.

Chris Pederson
Chris Pederson

I'm sick of the GOP attitude that says 'I got mine, so fuck you'.

Chris Pederson
Chris Pederson

Being able to feed yourself is ..not.. an entitlement. What is wrong with you people?

Lindsey Rivera
Lindsey Rivera

I guess it's in entitlement to be able to provide food and shelter to your family these days, is that right Carole?

Candi Olson
Candi Olson

at my last job i made $1000 a month before taxes . i worked 2 times a day 7 days a week. no exceptions. at 7.25 an hour i would have had to make sure i worked less than 4 1/2 hours each day and still get everything that was asked of me done plus what i thought could use some attention. i didnt complain. if i wanted a better job i knew where to find one.

TheConservativeJerk
TheConservativeJerk topcommenter

Oh I forgot, every time we have raised the minimum wage in Minnesota unemployment rate increased in the 16-24 age group.

keny1
keny1

@MN_Rebel And you are a brainwashed Liberal Twat who believes that you are "owed" something. You aren't owed ANYTHING.  

keny1
keny1

@MN_Rebel I pay my employees FAR more than industry standard. Why? Because they are worth it. They bust their asses of and I pay them for what they are worth. But on the other hand, I am not going to pay them $25/hr at the expense of my bottom line. If I paid them that much, my net income would be zero.

keny1
keny1

@j.reiter  *HIGH FIVE*, my brother! If the DFL could have their way, they would probably implement something like that!

TheConservativeJerk
TheConservativeJerk topcommenter

@Billie Mudry Spaight 

You're lacking knowledge of basic economic history huh?

TheConservativeJerk
TheConservativeJerk topcommenter

@Chris Pederson  

75% of the money lies within the DFL

Look up the "richest members of congress"

The look up the "richest presidents" 

Hollywood votes which way?

The media moguls vote which way?

 You been lied to and you lapped it up.  

Apparently intelligence DOES NOT come with age...

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

@keny1 For those that don't know keny is a racist stupid liar who has claimed to have many jobs over the years to boost his arguments.  He is lying about having a restaurant.  He will never tell people the name of his restaurant because he is a Republican lying piece of shit.  Does anyone really believe someone so stupid, sexist, and racist could run a successful business?

TheConservativeJerk
TheConservativeJerk topcommenter

@MicheleBachmann @keny1 

Michele, you're a broken record.

Hey, did you know liberals are attacking Marco Rubio ONLY because they're racist and HATE Hispanics?

 See how that works...

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

@keny1 Fucking coward.  Not man enough to back up your lies.  You are a pathetic shit talking pussy keny.  No way you own a restaurant.    You are a dumb fucking janitor somewhere. 

keny1
keny1

@MicheleBachmann And you are a fat stupid cunt. Your point is?

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

@keny1 keny you are a stupid liar who is too cowardly to even tell people the name of your restaurant you supposedly own.  Unless you are going to provide some proof you need to shut up with your made up nonsense. You have claimed to do many jobs in the past.  Now you are just lying again.  Put up or shut up you stupid child molesting fuck.  See I know who keny is in real life.  He is a convicted sex offender.  He has no job because who would hire a stupid racist with anger issues like keny?  See my story sounds way more the truth than your story about being a racist restaraunt owner who pays his employees "far more than standard" yet is online bitching about minimum wage.  Until you prove you own a restaurant shut the fuck up. 

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