Minnesota Democrats have struck a deal to raise the state’s minimum wage to $9.50 by 2016, party leaders announced on Monday.
"No Minnesotan should have to work a 40-hour week and continue to live in poverty," Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party's Paul Thissen, the House Speaker, said, according the St. Cloud Times.
In a press conference on Monday, party leaders announced a crucial—and much fought over—part of the bill: the state’s minimum wage would be indexed—tied to inflation—starting in 2018, with an annual cap of 2.5%, though the governor’s administration does have the right to stop these automatic hikes.
While lawmakers had agreed on a $9.50 wage as early as last summer, they spent months negotiating over these automatic increases.
Minnesota’s current minimum wage is among the lowest in the nation—$5.25 for smaller companies, $6.15 for larger companies, though many employees are paid the higher, federal minimum wage of $7.25. After the hike, it will be among the highest minimum wages.
Minnesota follows in the footsteps of Connecticut, which became the first state to pass a $10.10 minimum wage in March, and the 13 states who hiked their minimum wage last year.