Minnesota Republicans Solve Pressing Problem Of Waitresses Making Too Much Money
The Republican-controlled Minnesota House of Representatives passed a nice fuck-the-poors bill Wednesday. The bill would cut the minimum wage for workers who make at least $4 an hour in tips, to Save Jobs, and also maybe because the state's restaurant industry lobbied heavily for the bill. To save jobs, dontcha know. Then they probably made a Hillary-at-Chipotle joke, which is all the rage with Republicans these days.
The bill's author, Rep. Pat Garofalo, said the lower minimum wage for tipped workers was absolutely necessary to keep restaurants from closing when the state's overall minimum wage increases to $9.50/hr in 2016, claiming that restaurants and bars would simply be forced out of business if they had to pay their employees the same as other workers. Never mind the abundant evidence that minimum wage increases don't actually result in job losses; if employers believe it and tell Republicans that it will cause job losses, then by golly, it sure will (see once again the popular rightwing myth about Seattle restaurants closing after a minimum-wage increase -- it's a fine talking point, except for how it simply isn't true).
Rep. Tim Mahoney, from the Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor party (we just love the full name) called the bill what it is: class warfare. He pointed out that over 8,000 working mothers in the state would suffer a wage cut if the bill became law:
“The message from this bill is that you’re making too much money,” he said. “It wants to keep people making $12 per hour rather than making $14 or $15 an hour. If you tried living on $30,000 per year in this state, you’d understand that a couple of thousand dollars per year makes a huge difference.”
And just to add a little extra awfulness to the mix, the House bill would also prohibit municipalities and other local entities, like airport authorities, from setting a minimum wage higher than the state minimum wage. When you're cribbing ideas from Maine's Gov. Paul LePage, you're really scraping the bottom of the barrel (or you've got a friend in ALEC).
Also, since they were on a roll, House Republicans crammed a whole bunch of other crap into the bill, a shit soufflé in which the minimum wage provisions were only the most notable chunks:
The bill also was packed with other controversial provisions, especially related to energy. It would end certain conservation and renewable-energy programs, including greenhouse-gas-reduction goals; repeal the moratorium on new nuclear plants, and rescind the ban on importation of coal-fired power.
Somewhere in the Republican caucus, someone undoubtedly added, "That's it then. Cancel the kitchen scraps for lepers and orphans, no more merciful beheadings, and call off Christmas." It was one of those kinds of days.
Happily, since Minnesota's government has so far escaped Full Wisconization, the bill is unlikely to go anywhere in the DFL-controlled state Senate, and even if it passed there, would almost certainly be vetoed by Gov. Mark Dayton, who not incidentally supports a $10 minimum wage for airport workers. Still, it's nice to see that Minnesota Republicans have adopted the favorite hobby of their brothers in the U.S. House, and are determined to pass any number of crazy things that are destined to never become law. We bet if you looked into the bill far enough, you'd find subsections banning funding for ACORN and repealing Obamacare, too.
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