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Gov. Dayton enacts minimum wage increase

It was Minnesota's first minimum wage increase since 2005

By Valerie Engler
Monday, April 14, 2014

On Monday, Minnesota became one of the highest minimum wage states in the country. Gov. Mark Dayton officially signed a bill into law that will push Minnesota’s minimum wage up from $6.15  to $9.50 an hour, and index it to inflation, by 2016. On April 7, both the House and Senate came to an agreement on the legislation.

“Minnesotans who work full-time should be able to earn enough money to lift their families out of poverty, and through hard work and additional training, achieve the middle-class American Dream,” Gov. Dayton said in a release. “Raising the minimum wage to $9.50, and indexing it to inflation, will improve the lives of over 325,000 hard-working Minnesotans. I thank the Legislature for recognizing the need to make work pay in Minnesota.” 

According to a poll conducted by KSTP and SurveyUSA, 61 percent of Minnesotans agree with the increase. President Barack Obama also commended the decision in an April 10 statement and urged Congress to “follow Minnesota’s lead.”

“With this important step, Minnesota joins a growing coalition of states, cities, counties and businesses that have taken action to do the right thing for their workers and their citizens,” Obama said.

But some Minnesota businesses are worried that the wage hike will come with unintended consequences. The Minnesota Grocers Association has been vocal about the law. In a Pioneer Press article, association president Jamie Pfuhl said that the increase will raise food costs and result in job loss. The Minnesota Retailers Association also disagrees. In an April 7 e-newsletter, the association wrote: “MnRA opposes a dramatic increase in Minnesota's minimum wage with future increases tied to inflation, and remains concerned about its impact on jobs, hours, and prices.”

To learn more about the law will be phased-in over time, click here