SENATOR JOHN MARTY

Ranking Member, Energy and Utilities Committee
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SF 2987 -- Worker Dignity Legislation

Senator John Marty's legislation to Lift Workers Out of Poverty

In exchange for one's labor, every worker deserves to be able to afford adequate food, shelter, and other necessities. That’s simple fairness.  This legislation would treat all workers with dignity, so no full-time worker lives in poverty. 

Since the Legislative Poverty Commission issued its final report in 2009, Minnesota has moved further from the goal of ending poverty.  More than three in ten Minnesotans are struggling to meet basic needs.  Some workers cannot afford housing and go from their jobs to a homeless shelter at night.

This legislation would help workers move from welfare to economic independence by:

  • providing access to affordable childcare, eliminating the two year waiting list that exists in many counties, and doubling the payments so that childcare providers get decent compensation;
  • continue the phased-in increase in the minimum wage beyond 2016.  Current law raises the minimum wage to $9.50/hour by 2016, and this proposal would raise it by $.75/hr every year until 2020, when it would reach $12.50/hour (this is where the minimum wage would be if it had increased with inflation since the late 1960s), at that time, the wage would be indexed to inflation;
  • more than doubling the Working Family Tax Credit received by low income workers in Minnesota, making it equal to 100% of the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit (combining this with the minimum wage increase will be a huge boost to workers trying to make ends meet);
  • reestablish the MEED (Minnesota Emergency Employment Development) jobs program, a simple but effective initiative that assists small businesses in hiring the unemployed.   MEED was created in Minnesota during the recession in 1983. It has won praise from national economists and been described as the most effective job creation program in the entire country in the last 50 years.   

Although this proposal does not include provisions related to affordable health care, in conjunction with the proposed Minnesota Health Plan (Senate File 18) which would cover all Minnesotans with premiums affordable even to the lowest income workers, this legislation would lift all workers and their families out of poverty.

This Worker Dignity bill (SF 2987: http://bit.ly/1tP1tuT ) will help Minnesota workers succeed, improve the lives of those workers and their families, boost their productivity, stimulate the economy, and reduce welfare costs.

 

Senator Marty is author of the proposed Minnesota Health Plan.   

Although Senator Marty strongly supports the improvements in access to health care that will be obtained under President Obama's Affordable Care Act, the ACA will not address many of the problems with cost, access, and quality in our dysfunctional health care system.  

Sen. Marty with Sen. Dziedzic
Senator Marty's proposed Minnesota Health Plan would be a single, statewide plan that would cover all Minnesotans for all their medical needs. Equally important, it would reduce the need for costly medical care through public health, education, prevention and early intervention. Under the plan, patients would be able to see the medical providers of their choice when they need care, and their coverage would not end when they lose their job or switch to a new employer. Consumers would use the same doctors and medical professionals, the same hospitals and clinics, but all the payments, covering all of the costs, would be made by the plan, and everyone would be covered. 

Learn more about the Minnesota Health Plan (MHP):


Senator Marty provides insights on public policy.