Friday, May 16, 2008

On Governor Pawlenty's Minimum Wage Veto

Yesterday, Governor Pawlenty vetoed an increase in the minimum wage.

His rationale for this veto leaves me perplexed.
In his veto message, Pawlenty said the minimum wage approved by the Legislature would give Minnesota the seventh-highest in the country, hurting efforts to maintain jobs during the economic slowdown and ultimately raising consumer costs.

Pawlenty had no problem raising tuition on college students making minimum wages on our campuses. In fact, tuition increases under Pawlenty are amongst the highest in the nation. In his first term, which saw tuition rise nearly 70% for our State Universities and even more for the State Colleges, which put Minnesota in the Top 15 for tuition nationwide.

My question for Governor Pawlenty is this. Which minimum wage jobs are going to leave Minnesota because we boosted them from $6.15 to $6.75 in July and $7.75 a year later?

Will a Wal-Mart close? A McDonalds?

Pawlenty's veto hurts the state's lowest paid workers. Minnesota’s current minimum wage gives workers a salary of less than $13,000 a year. In two years, when the Legislature’s proposal would be fully phased in, it would offer workers an annual wage of about $16,000. The 2008 Federal Poverty Guidelines for a family of four is $22,200.

Pawlenty also objected to the lack of a tip credit in the bill.
Pawlenty said he had made it clear he would support a reasonable increase in the minimum wage provided the bill included a tip credit, which allows employers to pay a lower wage to workers who get gratuities for their services, such as waiters.

A tip credit does not properly reflect the amount of non-tipped labor that servers perform in a bar or restaurant. Servers are often required to set-up, clean, restock, and break down their sections of the establishment. In some circumstances, this can account for a large portion of the employee’s shift. It is unfair to force workers to perform this non-tipped labor at a reduced minimum wage, especially when a non-serving co-worker may be earning more to perform the same duty.

Pawlenty continues to put his own aspirations above those of working class Minnesotans.


Political Muse said...

Great Post Blue Man! This is yet another example of Pawlenty telling the working poor "let them eat cake".

I wonder if he shares Bachmann's pride in our workingest state where we have to work 2 or 3 jobs to survive.

taxpaying liberal said...

It’s a safe move for TP to make. It cements his base and the people who are negatively affected by this don’t vote. They don’t have the time because most are working 2 jobs. Ask Michelle Bachmann about it and she’ll tell you it’s a good thing we are the “workingest state”
It’s the spin off costs that few talk about. These people don’t have health care, they have emergency care. They work so much that their children are often left on their own and that often leads to a rise in crime, illiteracy, dropout rates. The cycle continues and we assure a cheap labor force for generations to come.
So we end up saving a few pennies at Wallmart and pay through the nose for subsidizing the basic benefits that should be provided. We are all paying higher insurance rate, getting less from our schools and imprisoning greater numbers of our fellow citizens for the sake of keeping wages lower amongst the bottom income earners of our society.
Increasing the minimum wage would have a small impact one way or the other, Addressing the issues of health, child care, public transportation and meaning full education to break the cycle would be a better use of resource’s but TP is opposed to all these ideas as well.
His mean attitude may come from his admitted lack of sex. Come on Mary, Give it up for the sake of the poor.

eric zaetsch said...

A few thoughts, first, ownership and management always want a surplus of labor at any level. It is how the chiefs keep the indians on message. It is why what can be outsourced is being outsourced.

Second, if servers are exempt or there is a "credit" everyone at a bar or restaurant will be called a server. Never mind those never leaving the kitchen, they will be called servers. With many places having tip-splitting to reach the kitchen help, there is more cause for the owners to push that.

With ownership and management of small business a GOP election target I think TPLib is correct.

It is funny how the GOP really is no help to small business but keeps blowing the horn.

A good example is: They run DEED now, and there's a Northwest and 3M standard in their UI enforcement, and a mom-and-pop standard. It's mom-and-pop businesses that end up getting screwed because the DEED staff know there will be no appeal over whether one worker is getting UI benefits whereas they will have to work on appeal if they make a workforce decision affecting a pool of employees at a multinational venture.

And the GOP happily lets the mom-and-pop businesses get socked that way. Those are usually are the businesses on the edge of going under, hard hit in a recession, and the chamber of commerce and other GOP bastions look the other way.

Mom-and-pop small business owners, if they knew what was best for them, would join the DFL coalition and DFL leadership, if they realized what was best, would recruit that way.