MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Five Minnesota state lawmakers are taking a challenge to live for a week on a $7.25 an hour minimum wage.
Minnesota has one of the lowest minimum wages in the nation, at $6.15 an hour, well below the federal wage.
Five state lawmakers are promising to live for a week on the federal minimum wage.
“An orange juice was $1.79. That’s not something that I would normally notice,” said State Rep. Frank Hornstein, (D-Minneapolis), who had breakfast from the Dollar Menu at a McDonald’s near the Capitol.
“Making the decision to take the bus today versus taking the car will save me a little money for dinner. For food,” he said.
Working America, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO that organized the challenge, estimates Minnesotans earning the minimum wage spend about $5 a day for food, and $9 a day for transportation, including bus fare or the cost of gas and car insurance.
One St. Paul representative says he is troubled that politicians preach “living within your means” but have little understanding what it means to be working and poor.
“How often do we aspire to truly understand what it means to walk in the shoes of the people we represent?” asked Rep. John Lesch (D-St. Paul).
Business groups who oppose a minimum-wage increase say raising the minimum wage could actually cause businesses to cut jobs.
A new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report found that raising the federal wage to $10.10 an hour could raise the incomes of 900,000 workers, lifting them out of poverty.
But it could also cost the economy as many as 500,000 jobs, according to the CBO.