You’ve probably heard already that more than 350,000 Minnesotans are getting a raise this August, which will continue to increase to keep up with the cost of living. Minnesota’s minimum wage increase was signed into law this spring by Governor Mark Dayton, and supported by our progressive majorities. Throughout the year-long debate on raising the minimum wage, many conservatives claimed that it would hurt our border communities.
Conservatives said businesses would leave Minnesota for Wisconsin and South Dakota where they could pay workers less due to their lower minimum wages. They said our border communities would be slammed by these changes, and raising the wage would be the catalyst.
But now, Wisconsin is concerned they’re going to lose workers to Minnesota. A handful of recent articles from our neighboring state highlight the fear that some workers near the border may switch jobs- or even move to Minnesota – for higher pay.
To prevent losing workers, economists say Wisconsin may need to raise their minimum wage to keep up with Minnesota.
But that’s not going to happen. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has repeatedly pledged to not raise the minimum wage, saying it will hurt the economy. This is a very interesting stance, since Governor Walker also promised to create 250,000 jobs by the end of his first term when he took office in 2010, and his conservative policies haven’t even come close to keeping that promise.
Comparatively, Minnesota’s economy has certainly rebounded. Under Governor Dayton’s leadership, Minnesota regained every job lost during the Great Recession, plus some. Wisconsin hasn’t.
“And, speaking of the economy, guess what? Minnesota is eating our lunch. It has done far better in creating jobs, and at the end of 2013 it was tied with California for fifth in economic growth. Walker’s Wisconsin is somewhere in the bottom third.”
Not only has Minnesota’s economy continually improved while Wisconsin’s failed to do so, now there’s speculation Minnesota may soon take Wisconsin’s workers.
This stark difference between progressive leadership and conservative policies is staggering. And I must say that I am glad to be living on this side of the Mississippi River, where workers are appreciated and not treated like dispensable assets to big businesses and the Republicans who protect them.
I’d take Minnesota’s progressive leadership over Wisconsin’s failing economic policies and empty economic promises any day, and twice on Sunday.