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Monday, May 02, 2005 

Minimum Wage Increase Passes the House

Today the Minnesota House passed a minimum wage increase of $1/hour for most businesses. This is quite a coup in a GOP-controlled House, and it should be a major talking point for candidates (mostly DFLers) in the elections next year, especially after some concern about incumbents' prospects next year. The only major concession by the DFL, apparently, is a $.05/hour reduction in the training wage, which I'm told can only be applied for 90 days after an employees' hiring and only for those under 20 years old. I think the trade-off is an acceptable one, as Gov. Pawlenty is making noises about being willing to sign it.

I'll admit to being caught by surprise when I read this news; I wouldn't have thought that something like this could pass so easily (18 Republicans voted for it) in the House, which has not been friendly to DFL legislation, and especially as the hospitality industry fought tooth and nail to prevent this bill's passage. Politics aside, though, I think this is a major victory for the working poor and something that everyone who voted for should be proud of. This was badly needed, especially in light of a Congress that already defeated similar legislation and is unlikely to pass it any time soon.

But why stop at $1.00. Arbitrary (which is what that is) numbers make no sense. Why not let the market bare out wages.

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