Nine reasons to celebrate Saturday’s new $9.00 minimum wage

Minnesota’s minimum wage increases to $9.00 Saturday for large employers (and $7.25 for youths and small employers) thanks to legislation passed in April 2014. Next year, the wage will increase again, to $9.50 for large employers and $7.75 for small employers and youth. This eventual climb up to $9.50 is predicted to cause roughly 325,000 Minnesotans to see their income improve. It’s good news for everyone else, too, because it will also strengthen our economy. We came up with a reason to celebrate the minimum wage increase for every dollar.

  1. A minimum wage increase is important for the Minnesotans who are more likely to be paid at or near the minimum wage, like women…
  2. …people of color…
  3. …people with disabilities…
  4. … and Greater Minnesotans. Raising the minimum wage will help address the fact that employers likely pay less for the jobs disproportionately filled by women, people of color, adults with disabilities and in Greater Minnesota.
  5. A higher minimum wage is linked to higher earnings. This sounds redundant, but is worth pointing out. Low-income workers in states with minimum wage increases saw their earnings grow by 1.6 percent in 2014, compared to just 0.3 percent in states that did not increase their minimum wage.
  6. The minimum wage needs to increase to ensure that more families can make ends meet. Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development studies the cost of a basic needs budget in every county in Minnesota. Depending on their age and where they live, a single adult working full time with no children would need to earn between $9.56 (Pennington County) and $13.07 (Isanti County) just to put a roof over their head and food in their fridge. This increase brings us one step closer to ensuring that a full day’s work at the very least covers a full day’s needs.
  7. The increase will help wages catch up with inflation. Because of increases in the cost of living, the federal minimum wage currently buys less than it did in 1968.
  8. The increase will help lots of children, too. According to a report by the JOBS NOW Coalition, roughly one out of every ten children in Minnesota had a parent who would be helped by the minimum wage increase.
  9. Minnesotans earning higher wages will spend more in our local economies. The JOBS NOW study also estimated that a similar minimum wage proposal to the one that passed would generate a $472 million increase in Minnesotans’ spending power.

Beginning in 2018, the minimum wage will be automatically increased to keep up with inflation. Combined with the increases from last year, this year, and next year, our higher minimum wage will improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans who struggle to meet their basic needs despite working.

-Ben Horowitz

About Ben Horowitz

Ben Horowitz is the Minnesota Budget Project's policy advocate.
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