Skip to main content

Battle prep underway for Minnesota minimum wage fight

  • Author:
  • Updated:

Despite momentum in a national movement led by Democrats to raise the minimum wage, the proposal's future is uncertain in Minnesota – where the DFL controls the Legislature.

President Barack Obama has made it a priority to push for a hike in the federal standard from $7.25 to $10.10. Thirteen states raised their minimum wage with the coming of the new year (see USA Today graphic here). State minimum wages are now higher than the federal $7.25 level in 21 states, the newspaper reported.

Another 11 states are mulling hikes this year – with more than half likely to approve it, USA Today reports, citing the National Employment Law Project, which closely follows the issue.

But the Star Tribune says that in Minnesota, efforts to hike the standard may again sputter – even in a state with a DFL governor and DFL-controlled Legislature.

Minnesota House DFL lawmakers plan again to pursue a $9.50 per hour minimum wage, and Gov. Mark Dayton has said a wage hike is among his top priorities. But there is trepidation among Senate DFLers, the Star Tribune reports.

“We could run a minimum wage bill out the first day and just slam it home. But it might create a disaster for the rest of the session,” Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, told the newspaper. He said a wage hike that's too big could hurt businesses and put jobs at risk.

Senate Democrats last year backed a hike to $7.75, considerably lower than what their House colleagues proposed. (The state's current rate is $6.15 one of the lowest in the nation, although most businesses have to pay the federal $7.25 rate.) Last year, wage hike legislation died amid the disagreement.

Obama has said he supports a minimum wage hike to $10.10. He has also hinted that he is considering an executive order that would raise the rate for federal contractors as he waits for Congress to consider a rate hike for all U.S. workers.

A number of Democrats have tried to make a case that raising the minimum wage could help curb income inequality in America, although other experts say the impact would be minimal.

Critics say the wage hike sought by Obama is too big and ill-timed.

"Raising the minimum wage to an unprecedented level in a weak economy with high youth unemployment is questionable at best," James Sherk, a senior policy analyst in labor economics at the Heritage Foundation, wrote last month.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-05-23 at 9.58.36 PM

Eric Perkins, Miss Minnesota, Paul Fletcher create new podcast

The podcast is released Tuesdays at 8 a.m. and is available wherever you find podcasts.

Mock aircraft cabin.

MSP Airport debuts mock aircraft to help ease flying anxiety

The pre-flight experiences cover the TSA screening procedure, exploring a terminal, boarding a plane and meeting a pilot, and preparing for takeoff.

Scripps National Spelling Bee

These Minnesota kids will be competing at National Spelling Bee

The upcoming event in Maryland will be the first fully in-person Scripps National Spelling Bee since 2019.

covid, kids

New data shows how omicron has impacted kids in Minnesota

The new data shows breakthrough data during the omicron period, which began Dec. 19, 2021.

Javen Juan Moreno

Albert Lea shooting suspect arrested after 3 weeks on the run

He is accused of shooting a man in the upper thigh on May 1.


Motorcyclist, 59, killed after losing control on right curve

The Harley Davidson rider was thrown from his bike.

state capitol Minnesota

Minnesota's 2022 legislative session: What's happening?

A list of items agreed upon and yet to reach any bipartisan agreement in the latest legislative session.

water drain

Water main break floods 40-45 homes in St. Louis Park

The city says the rupture happened on Minnetonka Boulevard.

Eli Hart

Charges: 6-year-old Eli Hart shot up to 9 times by his mother

The 28-year-old is facing 2nd-degree murder charges.

dave lee wcco radio

Former WCCO Radio host Dave Lee moves into podcasts

His new podcast, called 'My First Concert,' launched last week.

Tow Boat

Tow boat collides with Mississippi River lock and dam in Alma, WI

The crash remains under investigation by the United States Coast Guard.

unsplash school bus

Police: Man in minivan approached kids, claimed he was former principal

Investigators say children were approached by a man in a white minivan who falsely claimed he'd been a local school principal.