Minimum wage hike gets committee hearing

The Minnesota House is expected to vote this week for a slightly smaller increase in the state's minimum wage.

Members of the House Ways and Means Committee will take up the bill Monday, along with a DFL amendment to raise the top minimum wage rate to $9.50 per hour for large companies.

House Democrats had originally proposed a rate of $10.55 per hour by 2015, and later rolled it back to $9.95. There will also be automatic inflationary increases.

Rep. Ryan Winkler, DFL- Golden Valley, the bill's author, said a minimum wage increase will help the state economy.

"That money is spent in the economy and it's spread out, and multiplied though various businesses. So, what businesses see are more people coming in to buy more things, and that helps their bottom line as well," Winkler said. "So, it's good for increasing demand in the economy by putting more money into low-wage workers' pockets."

Republican House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt of Crown said he thinks the bill is bad for business.

"This is another example of overreach, going far beyond what the federal minimum wage is and putting us in a place that makes us horribly uncompetitive with surrounding states," Daudt said. "That really is what's going to hurt Minnesota's economy and really hurt us from growing the economy and creating more jobs in Minnesota."

Winkler said provisions for 12-week parental leave, and an overtime-pay trigger of 40 hours rather than 48, will also be added to the bill.

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