On Friday, thousands of Minnesota’s lowest-wage workers will get a well-earned raise. Friday’s increase will bring the new wage to $8.00 per hour – the first increase in the state’s minimum wage in nearly a decade. The minimum wage increase signed by Governor Mark Dayton will raise the wage to $9.50 per hour by 2016, and index it to inflation to help ensure Minnesotans’ wages keep up with the cost of living.
"Minnesotans who work full-time should be able to earn enough money to lift their families out of poverty and achieve the American Dream," said Gov. Mark Dayton. "Raising the minimum wage will improve the lives of more than 325,000 hard-working Minnesotans. I thank the Legislature for recognizing the need to make work pay in Minnesota."
Before Minnesota’s new wage goes into effect, our current wage of $6.15 per hour Minnesota was one of the lowest minimum wages in the nation – lower than neighboring Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota, and South Dakota. In fact, Minnesota was one of only four states in the country with a minimum wage below the national rate of $7.25 per hour.
Governor Dayton signs the Women's Economic Security Act, one of several laws now taking effect.
Governor Dayton is committed to improving state government – from investing in education and improving the state's infrastructure to taking steps to ensure high-quality health care. Through the work done in the 2014 legislative session, many great strides were made in keeping this promise. Here are ten of the laws and reforms signed by the Governor that are going into effect today:
Looking for the perfect Minnesota weekend getaway? With the Minnesota DNR’s new website, just a few clicks will get you there.
Just in time for National Get Outdoors Day on Saturday, June 14, the Department of Natural Resources is revealing a new tool called ParkFinder, which will help users plan any outdoor adventure at one of Minnesota’s 75 state parks and recreation areas to best match their needs and interests. With just a few clicks, users can enter search criteria, view the results, and make a reservation.
Search options include where to find:
This year, Governor Dayton signed the first Plain Language Initiative as part of the Unsession, which directs all state agencies to use commonly used language, write in clear and concise sentences, and present information in a format that is easy to understand for Minnesotans.
Governor Dayton addresses a joint convention of the Minnesota legislature at his 2014 State of the State Address
Remarks of Governor Mark Dayton – As prepared for delivery
State of the State Address
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
When I ran for Governor four years ago, I promised “A Better Minnesota.” Tonight, I can report that the state of our State is better – much better -- than before. It’s better for us, and it’s better for those who will inherit it from us. But the economic growth and social progress we have achieved, also reminds us of the work we still have left to do.
Becoming a parent introduces a longer-term perspective. We begin to consider the effects of our actions not only on our own lives, but also on lives that will extend beyond ours.
Becoming a grandparent, as I did a year-ago, thanks to my terrific son and wonderful daughter-in-law, Eric and Cory Dayton, who are in the gallery tonight, adds another generation to that timeline. It also raises the stakes.
Somewhere down the road, my grandson and his generation will assess the state of the state we have left to them. They will decide whether we, through our actions or inactions, made their lives better. Let’s keep them in mind, as we choose our state’s path.
In my first State of the State, three years ago, I said, “I know what we must do to create that better future for all of us. To progress, we have to invest.
“We have to invest in more jobs. Invest in better education. In improved transportation. In the health of our citizens, our communities, and our environment. In the transformation of government services.”
In other words, we have to invest in growth, quality, and effectiveness.
JOBS & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Well, we invested in jobs. Minnesota’s private sector and public sector both invested in jobs. We are blessed with so many outstanding businesses, located everywhere in our state, operating everywhere in the world – and who, during the past three years, rediscovered that they can be successful and profitable here in Minnesota. As a result, we have the 5th fastest growing economy in the country.
There are more than 2.8 million jobs in Minnesota today. More jobs than ever before in our state’s history. 150,000 more jobs than when I became Governor three years ago.
This economic growth is happening all over our state. A recent newspaper story was entitled, “Lots of jobs find a home on the prairie in southwestern Minnesota.” It said that, for example, Jackson County reported a 5 percent increase in jobs during 2013. The City of Jackson’s economic development coordinator is quoted saying that, “Everybody who is able to work, and willing, is probably employed.”
Jackson’s largest employer, AGCO, has doubled its workforce to more than 1,300. Nearby, HitchDoc, which manufactures automotive and farm equipment for 300 customers, has grown from a dozen employees to 140. “And I’m looking for another 30,” said the company’s owner, Brad Mohns. “I’m turning down work, because I can’t find enough employees.”
Some people believe there is no role for government in private sector expansion and job creation. To see that they’re mistaken, just look around Minnesota.
There would not be a new stadium under construction in Minneapolis without the financial support of the City and the State of Minnesota. 7500 construction workers will have jobs building that stadium over the next couple years. Over one-third of them will be people of color.
Located right next to the stadium will be a $400 million private sector development, the largest in a generation. It will provide office space for 5000 Wells Fargo employees, residential apartments, stores and shops, a hotel, and a new, two-block public park. Its construction will employ another 1000 Minnesotans. And that is just the beginning of the area’s revitalization.
Thanks to new tax cuts enacted by Gov. Mark Dayton and the MN legislature, the Zuzeks family are expected to save about $160 this year and another $220 on their state taxes in 2014.
Paying for college tuition can cost Minnesota students and families tens of thousands of dollars every year. But a new college tuition tax deduction signed into law by Governor Dayton will help reduce that financial burden, saving 40,000 Minnesota college students an average $140 per year.
The Zuzeks of Hastings, Minnesota, were born to be teachers.
“From a young age, I always knew I wanted to be a teacher,” said Katie Zuzek, a senior at St. Mary’s University in Winona. “And in order to realize that dream, I knew I had to go to college – there wasn’t any other option.”
The new tax cuts will provide Ching and Pi Lee an estimated $180 that they can save or spend in our local economy.
By 1986, Ching Lee decided it was time to leave Taiwan and join his extended family, who had already immigrated to the Twin Cities. Trained as mechanical engineer in Taiwan, Ching was able to find work as a manufacturing technician for a high-tech company in the West Metro.
A new country and a new job were not the only changes for Ching in 1986. He also fell in love with and married a fellow Taiwanese transplant, Pi Liu. Not strangers, Pi and Ching first met in Taiwan before becoming reacquainted in Minnesota.
Just two weeks ago, Governor Mark Dayton signed new tax cuts into law that are already saving Minnesotans time and money, and making filing taxes simpler for more than 1 million middle class Minnesotans and thousands of businesses. Watch this video to learn more about how Governor Dayton’s tax reforms are saving time, money, and hassle for small business owners like Ravi Norman of Thor Construction.
Department of Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson (back left) and the pharmaceutical safety team
Today, 78 state employees from 15 state agencies were recognized for outstanding achievements that have reformed state government and saved taxpayer dollars. In the Governor’s ongoing effort to build a Better Government for a Better Minnesota, state agencies have worked hard finding innovative ways to deliver better services to Minnesotans while eliminating wasteful spending, improving efficiencies, and strengthening measures of accountability.
The Governor’s Continuous Improvement Awards celebrate individual and organizational achievements that have increased the productivity and efficiency of state government services, while improving the delivery and responsiveness of customer service. Twenty-eight teams from across the administration were nominated for this year’s awards, with six receiving recognition at today’s award ceremony for their extraordinary achievements.
This week marks the beginning of the Minnesota State Fair; and Governor Mark Dayton is asking Minnesotans for their ideas to make state government better, faster, and simpler.
At more than a dozen state agency booths across the State Fair, fair-goers will be able to find more information about Governor Dayton’s ‘Unsession’ Agenda, and have an opportunity to provide their suggestions to the Governor. Suggestion boxes will be set up at each state agency booth, and Minnesotans will also be able to submit their Unsession ideas online over the next several weeks. The Governor is asking specifically for ideas for the upcoming 2014 Legislative Session.
The Unsession, proposed by Governor Dayton, will focus on eliminating unnecessary or redundant laws, rules, and regulations, and getting rid of anything else that makes state government nearly impossible for people to understand.
“My request of Minnesotans is simple: send me your Unsession suggestions,” said Governor Dayton. “Send big ideas that could revolutionize how state government operates, or commonsense changes that would eliminate headaches for Minnesotans. I invite every Minnesotan to join in building a better state government that better serves you.”
The Dayton Administration is also asking state employees for their ideas. The Governor sent a personal email to the state’s more than 30,000 state employees this week, asking for their reform ideas and suggestions. Already, nearly 1,200 state employees have registered to participate, and over 300 Unsession suggestions have been collected from state employees in just the first four days.
Improving how state government works has been a hallmark of the Dayton Administration. State employees have already made important reforms that have saved Minnesotans time and money – including changing the way the state pays for health care, reducing expensive and time-consuming paperwork, and creating new online solutions for permit applications. Other examples of improvements achieved over the last several years include reducing the waiting times for vehicle registrations from 90 days to just 10 days, cutting environmental permit waits by over 40 percent, and making hunting and fishing licenses available on smartphones.
Submit Your Unsession Suggestion
If you have a good idea for how to make state government better, faster, or simpler, Governor Dayton wants to hear from you. Over the next three weeks, the Governor will be accepting suggestions online and at the Minnesota State Fair. Your idea might just be the next big reform measure that could save Minnesotans time and money.
To submit your idea, visit any state agency booth at the Minnesota State Fair, or visit the Governor’s Unsession Suggestion website at www.mn.gov/governor/unsession.