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Duluth's City Council Passes Resolution Supporting Minimum Wage Increase

Created: 02/10/2014 10:58 PM WDIO.com
By: Zach Hammer
zhammer@wdio.com

Duluth's City Council passed a historic resolution Monday night, making the city the first in Minnesota to officially voice their support for raising the state's minimum wage to $9.50 an hour.

The 8-1 vote, with Councilor Jay Fosle casting the lone no vote, sends a message to state lawmakers but holds no real legislative power.

Zach Sias, with the Northeast Area Labor Council, says the vote puts Duluth in a leadership role with this issue and sends a signal that the city stands by its low-income citizens.

Sias also says a pay bump would be good for business.

"It's going to go to paying for rent, paying for heat, for food," Sias told councilors Monday. "Those families and people that can afford those items will be able to go spend that money at local businesses, and it's going to increase the local economy by almost $10 million a year."

But others say a minimum wage increase would hurt local businesses.

"Now if we increase the minimum wage in one year, two years, three years whatever it might be, you're only going to send Minnesota businesses into a spiral again," said John Rathe, a local political blogger.

The issue is expected to be brought up again in the next legislative session in St. Paul.

A measure raising the minimum wage did pass in the Minnesota House of Representatives last year, but the Senate failed to pass the bill.

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