Hodges, Coleman to push for $9.50 minimum wage at capitol

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The Twin Cities' mayors are teaming up to support a minimum wage increase.

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman will headline the "Minnesota Mayors for Raising the Minimum Wage" rally at 9 a.m. Thursday at the capitol, FOX 9 reports.

Both are pushing for a $9.50 minimum wage – up from $5.25 an hour for employers that earn less than $625,000 a year, and $6.15 for business that earn above that amount.

The federal minimum wage is $7.25 for employers that earn more than $500,000 a year. KSTP says only 6 percent of Minnesotans make the federal minimum wage or less.

The mayors' push for the increase comes after President Barack Obama's plea to raise the federal minimum to $10.10 per hour, citing St. Paul-based Punch Pizza owner John Serrano as an example for the country’s small business owners.

Serrano recently raised the hourly wage of his employees to more than $10 an hour.

Punch Pizza co-owner John Puckett tells KSTP that the interest in working for the company "has exploded," adding the "amount of applications in our stores since we announced our policy has increased, and the amount of people coming in and talking about it in the store has increased."

According to FOX 9, studies from the progressive think tank Minnesota 2020 find an increase in the minimum wage in Minneapolis would affect 30,000 workers and bring $40 million in additional purchasing power; and affect 20,000 workers in St. Paul and increase purchasing power by $27 million.

In addition, a study by the Raise the Wage Coalition says an increase to $9.50 per hour would not only give 357,000 Minnesota minimum wage workers a raise across the state, it would inject an additional $470 million in purchasing power in the state.

The Minnesota House is pushing for an increase in the state minimum to $9.50 by 2015, with an annual bump for inflation, while the state Senate is calling for a raise to $7.75 an hour.

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