Amid a push from Gov. Mark Dayton and House Democrats to raise the state’s minimum wage, one lawmaker wants to see the question put to the voters next fall.
DFL Rep. Tom Anzelc, Balsam Township, said Wednesday that he plans to introduce a constitutional amendment next session that would raise the state’s minimum wage from $6.15 per hour to $10 per hour by 2015. The proposal would also adjust the rate in the future according to inflation. Many employers in the state pay the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
“I think political gamesmanship prevents our legislature from making progress on bread and butter economic issues far too often,” said Anzelc. “My amendment is an effective way to cut through the bickering and give hard-working Minnesotans more security so they can provide for themselves and their families. This is about doing right by the people.”
Voters in New Jersey overwhelmingly passed a similar ballot initiative this month to raise the state’s minimum wage $1 to $8.25 per hour. Under Anzelc’s proposal, the ballot question would read: Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to establish a minimum wage at a rate of at least $10 per hour that is increased each year by the rate of inflation?
Democrats who control the Legislature tried and failed to pass a proposal to increase the state’s minimum wage last session. A bill carried by DFL Rep. Ryan Winkler would increase the wage to $9.50 per hour by 2015, while a proposal from DFL Sen. Chris Eaton would raise the minimum wage to $7.75 per hour. The bills passed out of their respective chambers this spring, but lawmakers failed to reach a compromise on the differences between the proposals before session adjourned.
Democrats like Dayton and Winkler have spent the summer renewing their push to increase the minimum wage to $9.50 per hour.