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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Melissa Hortman (DFL)

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Rep. Hortman Introduces Legislation Strengthening Working Families

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

ST. PAUL, MN—Today, Rep. Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park) and Senator David Tomassoni (DFL-Chisholm) introduced new legislation to strengthen Minnesota working families. The Family Economic Security Act (House File 430) would expand child care access, increase the minimum wage to $9.50, and enhance family friendly tax credits.

“A minimum wage increase is good for the whole economy—more money in workers’ pockets means more money for business, which helps all Minnesotans. Honest, hard working people deserve a fair and living wage,” said Sen. Tomassoni, chair of the Finance—Environment, Economic Development and Agriculture Committee.

Over the past 30 years, wages for lower and middle income Minnesotans have stagnated, while housing, child care, energy, transportation, and health care costs have all continued to rise. Minnesota currently has a minimum wage of only $6.15, which is even below the federal minimum of $7.25.

“Working families are falling behind. Making sure that parents can find work that pays a decent wage and their kids can get access to high-quality childcare will help these families catch-up,” said Rep. Hortman. “This legislation will help thousands of working families across Minnesota who have been forgotten over the last decade and gets our state moving in the right direction.”

Research shows that the minimum wage has not kept pace with the needs of working families. Currently, about 20 percent of Minnesota jobs pay less than $10.03 an hour, which is what the federal minimum wage would be today, if it had been increased for inflation since the late 1960s. While according to a report from the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, more than half of Minnesota jobs pay less than the wage needed ($15.78 per hour) to meet the basic needs of a family with two adults with two kids.

Studies also show that children from families with sufficient financial resources are more likely than children from economically disadvantaged families to flourish in the K-12 system and be successful later in life.

“As we all know a minimum wage increase is good for the whole economy. The best stimulus isn’t government spending, it’s working class spending.” said Sen. Tomassoni.   

“Rewarding work makes sense. Steady employment is good for working adults, while increased family income can dramatically enhance the life outcomes of previously economically disadvantaged children,” said Rep. Hortman. “The bottom line is it’s good for Minnesota, when people have more money in their pockets.”