Minimum wage debate heats up on House floor

Published 7:23 am Monday, March 23, 2015

ST. PAUL — It’s time to talk about the minimum wage again.

The Republican-controlled House is expected to take up a bill Monday afternoon that would allow employers to pay tipped staff $8 hourly if tips bring their pay above $12 an hour.

Republicans and restaurant owners say their businesses are hurting due to increased labor costs. Many Democrats and servers say the measure unfairly punishes workers.

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It stands little chance of gaining the approval of Democrats in the Senate and governor’s office. Democrat-controlled government passed a law last year bumping the state’s minimum wage up to $9.50 hourly by 2016.

But the GOP House may use their proposal as a bargaining chip as lawmakers hash out a budget over the next two months.