Five Minnesota state representatives will try weeklong test of living on the minimum wage

Five Minnesota state House members say they will spend the next week learning what it’s like to live on the minimum wage.

Taking part in the Minimum Wage Challenge, which kicks off today, are these DFL state representatives:

  • Karen Clark, Minneapolis
  • Frank Hornstein, Minneapolis
  • John Lesch, St. Paul
  • Jason Metsa, Virginia
  • Shannon Savick, Wells

The group’s agenda for the week:

  • Set a budget for the week, allowing for spending on food, housing, transportation and other expenses
  • Go grocery shopping
  • Search for affordable housing

On the last day, they say they’ll have a “reality check” meeting with low-wage workers to hear about their actual experience of living on a $7.25 hourly minimum wage.

State Rep. Ryan Winkler of Golden Valley is sponsoring a minimum-wage hike bill and will kick off the challenge. Supporters hope to raise it to $9.50 an hour or more.

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Comments (7)

  1. Submitted by John Edwards on 02/18/2014 - 02:18 pm.

    A better experiment

    I would like to see these DFL lawmakers live on $9.50 a week so they could see how much better their lives will be after the DFL legislature passes the increase and DFL Gov. Mark Dayton signs it.

    There is a substantial difference: 29 hours at $7.25 produces only $210.25 while a 29-hour work week at $9.50 generates am astonishing $275.50. That $65 a week can go a long, long way in improving a person’s living conditions. Moreover, by accessing Obamacare through MNsure, they can spend more time with their families and perhaps develop valuable artistic skills such as writing poetry or playing the guitar.

  2. Submitted by Jeff Michaels on 02/18/2014 - 04:00 pm.

    Solving The Problem

    For sure, the five legislators will attract plenty of establishment media attention. But if government can determine how much an employer should pay an employee, why are they limiting the amount to $9.50? Why not show what life will be like if the minimum wage is increased to $25 an hour.

    If politicians can decide what workers should be paid, it makes more sense to show how great life would be if everyone made $52,000 a year. If our caring politicians were to take that approach, I am sure the pressure to vote for the $25 minimum wage would be intense. Then everyone would be happy. This is an easy solution to a simple problem.

  3. Submitted by Steve Hoffman on 02/18/2014 - 06:52 pm.

    Not surprising

    — that all five legislators doing this thing are Democrats. No Republican would dare try to live on minimum wage while people are watching — he or she would have to switch parties.

  4. Submitted by Beth-Ann Bloom on 02/19/2014 - 08:52 am.

    $9.50 is the amount that raises a family of 3 to the threshold of the poverty level. It provides a chance for the smallest of family units to meet their basic needs. If the worker actually got 40 hours of salary per week he or she would earn $19,000 annually.

  5. Submitted by Kent Madsen on 02/20/2014 - 09:02 am.

    Minimum wage try

    Maybe since the Republicans have decided not to do anything for the rest of the year THEY should try this as well. My partner and I survive on my small VA pension, it is a struggle but we manage. Live simple, Live Large. Peace

  6. Submitted by John Appelen on 02/20/2014 - 10:42 pm.


    Anyone know these details about the simulation:
    – How many hours per week?
    – Size of housing goal?
    – Room mates or not?
    – In their home towns or elsewhere?
    – Allowing EITC dollars?,-Maximum-Credit–Amounts-and-Tax-Law-Updates

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