Today Minnesota’s Legislature passed a minimum wage increase. HURRAY!!!! No seriously it is a good thing. I have written previously on why everyone should support a minimum wage increase to a living wage.
If you actually look at the bill itself (HF2091) it does raise the minimum wage but not the way it is being advertised. It raised the minimum wage by $0.50 a year to $9.50 in 2016 but only for large employers. If you are employed by a small employer (less than $500,000 gross sales volume per year) it only goes to $7.75. Fifty cents more than the current federal minimum wage is now.
But wait. The federal minimum wage is $7.25. What was it before for small employers? If it is being raised to $7.25, what was it before? $5.25 per hour! Only federally covered employers must pay the federal minimum wage.
Then there is the automatic inflation increase. Again a good thing, but it is limited to 2.5% a year and can be nullified by a gubernatorial appointee. Better hope that the next governor supports higher minimum wages.
Once again hurray for raising the minimum wage, but what happens if the $10.10 an hour that President Obama wants goes through? Minnesotans will get the shaft. Ours will still be $9.50. It’s as though the raising it now is a defensive move to protect against a federal wage hike. I’m not saying that it was a cunning move by business CEOs to avoid a feared $10.10 minimum wage or the even more feared living wage some are demanding of $15. It just makes me think about it enough to write a blog.