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DFL Proposes Increase to Minimum Wage in Minnesota

Posted at: 01/10/2013 6:44 PM
By: Jenna Lohse

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- There's a possibility for a big jump in Minnesota's minimum wage.

Among the priority bills introduced in the state senate, is a proposal to raise Minnesota's minimum wage to $7.50 an hour.

Minnesota's minimum wage hasn't gone up since 2005, but Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk says it's time that changed.

"Our situation with the minimum wage in Minnesota, frankly is a bit embarrassing. The federal government is at $7.25 and the Minnesota minimum wage is $6.15, clearly were behind," said Tom Bakk.

If the bill passes, it will make future increases automatic and link them with inflation. 

Sherry Clark, a server at Green Mill in Rochester, likes the thought of a wage increase.

"I would appreciate that, a lot of times here people forget that you only do make the minimum wage," said Clark.

She says seeing an extra $1.35 an hour would help more than you know.

"Just on one check it could be a you know 50 to 60 dollars, so it could even help getting back in forth for transportation for gas," said Clark.

But paying workers more would be challenging for some companies.

"You have to make adjustments in other ends of the restaurant or with food costs or anything that can make the budget equal out again," said Dena Johnson, Manager of Green Mill.

Jacobson once owned a small business and understands the setbacks of raising wages.

"it would be very difficult when you are given X amount of money for labor costs and the labor costs increase than you aren't going to be able to hire more. And therefore you may have to work your employees longer,” said Jacobson.

But in the restaurant industry, that's not always an option.

"You are going to have to hire regardless and you just need to make it work within your budget," said Johnson.

The other items included with the first bill are the state's health exchange program and all-day child care. The latter would be an option for parents, but paid by state funding.