The committee opened the meeting with a review of the public input that had been submitted thus far. Engagement continues to increase as the process goes on, and committee members are encouraged to continue collecting feedback. The business panel that was originally scheduled was moved to a later meeting date due to availability.
Although the group is still in the first phase of this process, during which they establish a base of understanding from which to further discussions, energy was elevated a bit – for the first time – in this meeting. Representatives on both sides of the issue want to be sure that data being provided is taken on its own merit, without the shadowing of agendas from either side of the issue. Readers can be assured that this work is being taken very seriously!
Thomas Durfee introduced several people from the Roy Wilkins Center who were involved in the Minimum Wage study that informed Minneapolis’ debate. Thomas then talked about some data gathered in response to a question about price sensitivity – in a simulation, the industry with the biggest impact was the (full-service) restaurant industry with a 5.4% increase in costs due to payroll. A change in menu prices did absorb some costs, but not all. Thomas has other data broken down by industry that he will share with the committee.
The committee heard a presentation on the History of Minimum Wage Laws by Snowden Stieber, a law student and summer intern at the Citizens League. His presentation can be found here.
The discussion about the legality of establishing a city-level minimum wage led to committee members asking for more information on what Saint Paul is legally allowed to do. For instance, would a tip “adjustment” be permissible at the local level if it isn’t allowed at the state level? The committee would like to have that guidance before they make recommendations, as legality should be factored in.
Snowden mentioned that there is no consensus between economists on the impact to employment that comes with a minimum wage increase. (This is consistent with what we heard at a SPACC Public Affairs Series event in February. See a video of that panel here.)
Next, Pahoua Hoffman gave an overview of the Phase I results.
The committee then heard details of events to collect public comments on this issue that are being hosted by the City of Saint Paul. The schedule of those public meetings will be shared shortly.
Schedules permitting, this is what the rest of the committee meetings would look like:
Week 5: Thursday, June 7 – small business panel
Week 6: Thursday, June 14 – tip adjustment “penalty” panel
Week 7: Thursday, June 21 – tip adjustment “credit” panel
Week 8: Thursday, June 28 – low wage worker panel
Week 9: Thursday, July 12 – exemptions panel/state reimbursements
Week 10: Thursday, July 19 – TBD
Week 11: Thursday, July 26 – synthesize data, fill in any holes or gaps identified by the committee
Week 12: Thursday, August 2 – talk about scenarios as options
Week 13: Thursday, August 9 – discussion/voting on recommendations
Week 14: Thursday, August 16 – discussion/voting on recommendations