Key Leaders Agree on Minimum Wage Hike

Created: 04/07/2014 6:22 PM
By: Steph Crock

(ABC 6 News) -- House and Senate DFL leaders have reached an agreement on raising Minnesota's minimum wage. The agreement would increase the minimum wage to $9.50, phasing the increase in by 2016.

Both House and Senate leaders say it'll help with workers living expenses, but we talked to a business owner who says it may wind up harming businesses instead.
Up at the capital, House and Senate DFL leaders are celebrating an agreement, one they think will help Minnesota workers, and will strengthen the state’s economy.

"I think it’s a good compromise that the House and Senate have reached. It’s certainly going to help hundreds of thousands of low wage workers and entry level workers across the state," said Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk.
However, at Press Coffee and Tea Lounge in Rochester, the owner is singing a different tune.

"The thought that this is really going to impact livable wage is really laughable, I think," said owner Chris Holloway. He employs 8 people at the coffee lounge, most of which make more than the current minimum wage of $6.15 that’s been in place since 2005.
"The proposed minimum wage of $9.50 is above what some of my starting wages are, so at that point whenever I cross that bridge, I'll have to make a decision because again, like so many other businesses, I have a finite amount that I can spend on labor," said Holloway. He says being forced to up wages, means the money will have to come from somewhere else, "...hours and number of people employed will also suffer."
State leaders backing the bill say raising the minimum wage over the course of a couple years will help workers keep up with rising living costs. "We've agreed to do it in a responsible manner so wage will increase and not lose its value in the future, so that workers don't fall behind in the cost of the groceries and their gas and other basic expenses as they increase over the years," said Minnesota Speaker of the House Paul Thissen.
The bill could move through both Democratic-led chambers this week. If this were to pass, the state's minimum wage would continue to go up unless a governor's administration applied the brakes.