A study by a network of organizations calling for a boost in Minnesota's minimum wage to $9.50 per hour says huge benefits would come with such an increase, the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead reports.
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, it would inject an additional $470 million in purchasing power in the state.
Minnesota's minimum wage is currently $6.15 per hour for employees of large companies, and $5.25 an hour for small company employees who work for businesses grossing less than $625,000 in annual sales.
The state's minimum wage is one of four in the country lower than the federal minimum of $7.25. Most large company employees, however, already qualify for the federal minimum.
The study says roughly 77 percent of the state's minimum wage workers are 20 years or older. A spokesman for one of the groups behind the study, Joe Sheeran, said that statistic debunks claims that only teenage workers would benefit from a minimum wage increase 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. The state Senate is calling for a raise to $7.75.
Gov. Mark Dayton said last month that he would be disappointed if the Legislature didn't raise the minimum wage to $9.50 in the next session, which begins in January.
Earlier this month, U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison and U.S. Rep Rick Nolan joined the local push for a boost in the state minimum wage to $9.50 per hour, the Star Tribune reports.