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.