More than 325,000 of Minnesota's lowest-wage workers just got a raise. Joined in the Capitol Rotunda this afternoon by legislators, advocates, and hard-working Minnesotans from across the state, Governor Mark Dayton signed a bill into law raising Minnesota's minimum wage for the first time since 2005. The bill increases the minimum wage to $9.50 per hour by 2016, and indexes it to inflation to help ensure Minnesotans' wages keep up with the cost of living.
Before today, at $6.15 per hour Minnesota had one of the lowest minimum wages in the nation - lower than neighboring Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota, and South Dakota. In fact, Minnesota was one of only four states in the country with a minimum wage below the national rate of $7.25 per hour.
Raising the minimum wage to $9.50 per hour will put an estimated $472 million in additional wages in the pockets of Minnesota's lowest-wage workers each year. Many economists agree that when minimum wage workers get a raise, they often spend those new wages on basic necessities, goods, and services. That increase in consumer spending is expected to help local businesses in communities across our state, and provide another boost to Minnesota's growing economy.
Raising the state's minimum wage is expected to help lift many Minnesotans out of poverty. Under the previous minimum wage of $6.15 per hour, a single parent with two children working full-time earned an annual salary of just $12,792. That is $7,000 below the poverty line. Raising the minimum wage to $9.50 per hour will put another $6,970 in that parent's pocket, helping them earn more to provide for their family.
The bill signed into law today by Governor Dayton phases-in new increases in the minimum wage over the next several years. To help small businesses, the bill also establishes lower minimum wage requirements for small employers and young workers. And starting in 2018, Minnesota's minimum wage will be indexed to inflation to help ensure Minnesotans' wages keep up with the cost of living.
For additional information, check out the Minimum Wage fact sheet