Updated: 02/25/2014 5:56 PM
Created: 02/25/2014 5:49 PM KSTP.com
By: Cassie Hart
Several hundred people rallied at Minnesota's Capitol in favor of an increase in the minimum wage.
House Speaker Paul Thissen said at the Raise the Wage Coalition rally that hiking the state's minimum hourly pay requirement is probably Democrats' top priority as a new session gets underway.
Democratic Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk has been more hesitant to back House Democrats and Gov. Mark Dayton's wish to boost the wage to $9.50 by 2015. But Bakk softened his position at the rally. He now says he believes Senate Democrats will sign on to $9.50, but that it might not get all the way to that level next year but rather phased in more slowly.
Republicans warn a minimum wage increase could make businesses cut jobs.
Governor Dayton released the following statement:
“Minnesotans who work full-time should be able to earn enough to lift their families out of poverty, and through hard work and additional training, achieve the middle-class American dream. I strongly support increasing Minnesota’s minimum wage to $9.50, which would put $472 million each year into the pockets of over 350,000 Minnesotans. Economic experts tell us that low- and middle-income Minnesota workers will spend that money at local businesses on basic necessities, goods, and services – [benefiting] Minnesota’s entire economy.”
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