Editorial: Minnesota only needs 1 minimum wage

Published 9:41 am Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Kudos to the Minnesota House of Representatives for blocking measures proposed in Minneapolis and St. Paul to pay workers higher than the state-set minimum wage. The two cities wanted to raise the minimum wage in their cities to $15 per hour. The state presently has the minimum wage at $9.50.

We don’t want to come across as heartless to the hard work people put in for minimum wage. Lots of people work incredibly hard for very little money. We are pro-worker, to be sure.

But allowing cities, counties and other government entities to set wage standards different from the state standards would create a logistical and accounting nightmare. Imagine you are a company with delivery trucks. When your delivery drivers pass through cities with varying wages, your company would need to pay those varying wages.

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Also, cities and counties could end up competing for workers, which might benefit wealthy places but could be further damaging to places with struggling local economies.

Perhaps Minneapolis and St. Paul are big enough places that they neither need nor care about how their economies are tied to nearby towns. But places like Albert Lea, Austin and Owatonna, we all need each other, and having pay variations per municipality just creates extra work for rural Minnesota.

What’s more, Minnesota doesn’t need its two largest cities setting the pay standards for the state. It makes legislative sense to allow the Legislature to handle that task.

Minnesota already is a complicated place to do business compared to Iowa, the Dakotas and Wisconsin. Let’s keep from complicating it even further. If we want to raise the minimum wage, do it for the entire state. Don’t allow cities and counties to set their own standards.