Freshman GOP Rep. Dave Baker is a restaurant owner who said said some pretty contradictory things about his business and his employees’ wages. Given that his comments concern a bill being heard in the Health and Human Services Finance committee today on eliminating MinnesotaCare, here’s some information about Baker’s contradictory positions.
Baker Opposes Minimum Wage Increases
Baker owns The Oaks at Eagle Creek restaurant, according to his campaign website. Despite this, Baker opposes raising the minimum wage, and has even admitted it is because raising the minimum wage for his employees would affect Baker’s bottom line. [Legal Ledger, 01/31/14; West Central Tribune, 12/31/13]
The West Central Tribune wrote:
“We are very nervous when we hear $9-$10 minimum wages. They are very alarming to the Minnesota Chamber and businesses around the state,” said Baker, acknowledging that the minimum wage issue would hit his businesses’ bottom line.”
Baker also supports a tip credit for tipped employees. Baker voted for a tip penalty bill – a bill that would set a lower minimum wage for tipped workers – in March 2015, saying the bill was “great.”
He even went as far as to say that employees “win” with a tip penalty, that servers make “really good money,” and that restaurant owners like himself want a tip penalty because they sign the checks. [West Central Tribune, 09/30/13]
Baker Is Proud Of What He Pays Employees
Baker claimed he paid his employees minimum wage, and that he was proud of the salaries and hourly rates they receive. [West Central Tribune, 09/20/13]
But Dave Baker does not pay his employees a livable wage. He admitted as much during the House floor debate on the tip penalty bill.
Baker’s Employees Are On Low-Income Health Care Plans
Earlier this month, Baker claimed that he was against repealing MinnesotaCare because some of his employees were on it.
That means Baker’s employees only earn 133-200% of the poverty line, which translates to an annual income of $15,000-$23,000. That’s hardly what I would call “really good money.”
Dave Baker is living in a dream world where the only thing that matters is his bottom line. Minnesotans should not believe Baker’s attempt to look like someone who sticks up for low-income Minnesotans when he wants to pay those folks – folks he employs – even less.