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Minneapolis leaders consider $15-an-hour minimum wage

Minneapolis officials are looking at raising the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour, a move that would place the city’s base wage among the highest in the nation.

“We want to ensure we’re able to provide workers a better living wage to ensure we’re able to provide a better, more sustainable economic system for the people who live in our city,” said Council Member Alondra Cano, who has been meeting for months with state legislators, federal officials and local labor groups to boost workers’ pay.

The dramatic jump in the city’s base wage would set Minneapolis apart from neighboring communities and thrust the state into a larger national debate about workers’ wages. Seattle officials this summer overcame intense opposition from business leaders to lift its minimum wage to $15 an hour, to be phased in over several years.

Local business leaders are already expressing grave concerns about the possibility of the higher wage, saying some businesses could lay off workers or automate in ways that use less workers if labor costs become too high. The layoffs would significantly affect those on the lowest end of the wage scale, they say, particularly young workers struggling to land those crucial first jobs.

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