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Waging a debate over minimum wage

Supporters of raising the minimum wage thought they had a deal with the Pawlenty administration on a higher minimum wage, but Wednesday heard that the governor doesn't like the negotiated deal and could veto it.

The House-Senate conference committee report is due on the House and Senate floors soon.

Rep. Tom Rukavina, DFL-Virginia, said he is willing to open up negotiations again, but not for just any issue. He insists that waiters, waitresses and others receiving tips be under the same minimum wage as others; Pawlenty and many Republicans want a lower minimum wage for them because they also receive tips.

Pawlenty spokesman Brian McClung said the bill, as it stands, would be vetoed.

"This bill goes too far," McClung said. "It would surpass the federal minimum wage by 50 cents, giving Minnesota one of the highest minimum wages in the country, and does not include a credit for high-earning tipped employees. The bill could do more harm than good - the increased costs to small businesses have been shown to slow job growth - and that's not something we need in this already challenged economy."

Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.