We would say wage hike goes overboard

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has signed the Minimum Wage bill passed by the Democrats in the Legislature. The bill will take the state’s minimum wage from among the lowest in the nation to among the highest. On paper, anyway.

We don’t know how many people are actually paid the state’s minimum wage. Most employers are covered by the higher federal minimum wage, and market forces have made the $6.15 per hour rate almost unimaginable.

The new law will raise the minimum wage for large employers to $8 per hour this August, to $9 the following year, and to $9.50 by August 2016. Small employers, who now pay $5.25 per hour, will see increases to $6.50 this year, $7.25 in August 2015, and $7.75 in August 2016.

The law also indexes the minimum wage, linking it to inflation. The wage could increase up to 2.5 percent annually, depending on inflation. But there is a loophole in this provision. The governor can suspend the increases if the economy is in a “substantial downturn.”

Republican candidates for governor are promising that they will suspend the indexing if elected. That seems right. Democratic lawmakers and the governor went overboard on this minimum wage hike. Something must be done to hold them in check. We hope voters will remember this issue in the fall.