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Gov. Dayton Signs Minimum Wage Increase into Law - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Gov. Dayton Signs Minimum Wage Increase into Law

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UPDATE

On Monday, April 14, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton signed minimum wage bill HF2091/SF1775 into law.

The public bill signing ceremony took place in the Minnesota State Capitol Rotunda. All Minnesotans were invited to attend the event.

The bill, which was passed by the Legislature last week, will increase Minnesota's minimum wage to $9.50 per hour, and index it to inflation.

ORIGINAL STORY

About 350-thousand of the lowest paid Minnesotans are now expecting a raise by 2016. The Minnesota House and Senate announced a deal today that would raise the minimum wage from $6.15 an hour to $9.50! Valley News team's Eric Crest finds out how small businesses in Moorhead are already scratching their heads in light of this news.

Minnesota is one of the lowest paying minimum wage states in the country today. But a proposed bill would make it the highest by 2016.

"It's such a huge jump in the minimum wage," says Diane DeLeon. the co-owner of Dairy Queen in Moorhead.

There's no shortage of work in Moorhead and most of the jobs actually pay more than minimum wage today. But with a likely jump to $9.50 an hour within just two years, many smaller businesses are struggling with the notion.

"It will dramatically effect how we will be able to operate our business or even be able to stay in business," says DeLeon.

"Small communities can't afford to pay people these kinds of wages," adds Steve Schultz, the owner of Duane's House of Pizza in Moorhead.

At the Moorhead Dairy Queen many employees start at minimum wage. But in 2016, when the new guy starts at a hourly rate that veterans had to build up too, how do you keep everyone happy?

"It's not fair to my co-workers that have been with me for a long time to not give them that same increase. It's just not fair," says DeLeon.

At Duane's House of Pizza their servers and delivery drivers make the minimum wage too. They rely on tips to supplement their income.

"It's not designed for people to live off of. But it's a start for most people. Most of my employees are college students, high school students," says Schultz.

But figure in their tips and that number changes quickly.

"They're making $10.25 to $12.25 an hour and almost 50 percent of that is tax free," adds Schultz.

100's of thousands of Minnesotans stand to benefit monetarily from the increase in pay. But right now small businesses are already questioning how this move could be beneficial to everyone.

"If minimum wage is nearly 10 dollars an hour it's just gonna close the gap on the middle class people one more step," says Schultz.

"What good is the pay increase going to do when they have no place to go to work cause we couldn't afford to pay them?" Asks DeLeon.

The House and Senate are likely to approve their compromised bill later this week. And today Governor Dayton also voiced his support. If passed it would increase the minimum wage starting in 2016.

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