Locals react to minimum wage hike

KIMT NEWS 3 – A piece of history was made in Minnesota on Monday as Governor Dayton signed the bill that will increase the minimum wage for over 300,000 people.

As you can imagine, the thought of higher paychecks excites most people who are currently working at a minimum wage level but others have their concerns.

According to the new law, this August employees working for large businesses will see their wages go up to $8.00 per hour, next year that will increase to $9.00 and in 2016 they will receive $9.50 per hour.

“Definitely make everything a little easier,” says Becky Morgan, a local server and bartender at Green Mill in Austin.

“It’s always kind of hard to pay your bill so the dollar will help,” she says.

Some folks are not as enthusiastic about the change. They are looking into the long term business effects, which some are concerned about

“You know the general misunderstanding is that by raising minimum wage this much that it’s going to equate to more money in people’s pockets and that’s not always necessarily the case. Less hours, less people working, those are some of the effects unfortunately we’re going to feel with this,” comments Brad Jones with the Rochester Convention and Visitors Bureau.

He says his organization was really hoping that lawmakers would begin to recognize tips as wages and believes consumers will see the consequences of that.

“That’s going to mean last servers in the marketplace, there are already a lot of companies out there coming up with technology like Ipads to take your order more counter service and we just think that hospitality business has faces and names and we like to protect those employees,” he adds.

But servers like Morgan are just happy to have a little less stress when it comes to life’s expenses.

“The paychecks will be a lot better so all the bills will get paid faster and easier and not as much stress,” she says.

And some believe with more money in people’s pockets, there’s more money to spend in communities.

“Today is the day that economy starts to rise. It’s the day that Minnesota workers start to fight back, start to win back the right to a decent life in exchange for a hard day’s work,” says Ryan Winkler with the Minnesota State House.

“We’re the first to recognize that we did need a raise, a bump in minimum wage but this is a lot,” says Jones.

Lawmakers also agreed to increase the minimum wage according to inflation starting in 2018 with a yearly cap at 2.5 percent. This would put it at $9.74 an hour at the most that first year.

For companies who make less than $500,000 in gross sales, the minimum wage will top out in 2016 at $7.75.

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