Dec 27, 2013 at 3:23 pm
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — As Minnesota lawmakers debate raising the minimum wage, Gov. Mark Dayton says he prefers tying future increases to inflation.
Dayton told The Associated Press on Friday that it would be "useful" to include an automatic escalator clause. The state has one of the nation's lowest minimum wages at $6.15 per hour, but most people at the bottom qualify for the federal minimum of $7.25.
The Democratic-led House and Senate both passed bills to boost the Minnesota rate but couldn't come to an agreement on how much. Debate is expected to resume in early 2014. Dayton says he's optimistic a bill will pass and be signed.
Dayton says linking future increases to inflation would prevent those earning the minimum wage from losing buying power as years go by.
Meanwhile in the same interview Friday Dayton said he's keeping tabs on MNsure nine days into its new leadership. The Democratic governor has a conference call Friday with new CEO Scott Leitz, and is scheduled to visit MNsure headquarters next week.
Last week, MNsure extended an enrollment deadline for Minnesotans who want coverage starting Jan. 1. They now have until Dec. 31 to sign up.
Dayton says MNsure has reduced a backlog of stalled applications by manually entering several thousand. He says wait times at MNsure's call center are still long but will likely drop as website glitches are resolved.
Temp: 39°F (4°C)
Wind: 12 N