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Coalition renews campaign for minimum wage hike

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Supporters of a higher minimum wage renewed their lobbying campaign with a kickoff event at the Minnesota State Fair Tuesday.

The Pioneer Press reports the coalition of labor, faith, and community groups wants to see the wage boosted to $9.50 an hour by 2015. Currently Minnesota has a $6.15 minimum, which is well below the federal level of $7.25 an hour.

Last spring the House and Senate could not agree on how large a minimum wage increase should be and ultimately passed nothing. The House voted for an increase to $9.50 an hour over two years, while the Senate went with $7.50 an hour.

The new "Raise the Wage" coalition backs a $9.50 minimum by 2015. Forum News Service reports supporters say the extra dollars in the pockets of low-wage workers would stimulate Minnesota's economy to the tune of $427 million a year. Opponents, however, hear the sounds of employers preparing to cut jobs rather than pay the higher wage.

The Star Tribune reports Gov. Mark Dayton lent his support to Tuesday's kickoff rally, saying all full-time workers should earn a wage sufficient to keep a family of four above the poverty level. Dayton says the lower wage adds to the number of people seeking public assistance.

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