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Show your support for a $15 minimum wage!

The City of Saint Paul is looking for public input on a future citywide minimum wage increase. This is a great opportunity to express support for a $15 minimum wage to address the crisis of poverty in Saint Paul and ensure that the everyone in our city can live and work with dignity. By June 13th, please send your comments to You can also leave a recorded voice message at 651-401-2474. If you have questions about this, please contact Vivian Ihekoronye (Associate Organizer with ISAIAH) at

*Icon from 15 Now Minnesota

Suggestions for Forming Your Public Comment

Courtesy of Vivian Ihekoronye, Associate Organizer with ISAIAH

In your comments, please mention the following:

  1. Your name, where you live in Saint Paul, your congregation and that you are a leader with ISAIAH.
  2. State that you support passing a $15 minimum wage policy by December 2018 that has no exceptions, no carveouts and no tip penalty.
  3. State why you carry this position
    • RESOURCE: See below for stats from the St. Paul Big Fact Sheet: We have 40% poverty in Saint Paul; of all income earned by those living in poverty, 98% is earned income and only 2% comes from public assistance, etc.
  4. State the impact this would have on you and or those you love and care about. If you, a family member or close friend is experiencing poverty in Saint Paul please share how that’s affecting that person’s quality of life and well being. Highlight that you/this person’s experience demonstrates there’s a crisis of poverty in Saint Paul.
  5. State how this policy is in line with your vision and values for our state. Share that we must be bold in working towards Saint Paul being the most livable city for everyone in our city.
    • RESOURCE: Refer to the Faith Agenda and Claiming Our Voices Issues Brief for language: We envision an economy where caring for one another is the top priority – more important than the accumulation of material wealth or the production of goods. We must lead together to create a Saint Paul that is inclusive and just for every person. We should aim to be an affordable, dignified place to live, work, retire and play. We should be a city that supports families and their ability to care for each other.
  6. Express appreciation for the opportunity to share your thoughts on such a critical issue in our community.

Instructions for Sending in Your Public Comment

Comments should be sent via email first to AND forwarded to Recorded voice messages may be provided by calling 651-401-2474. If you decide to record a message, please let Vivian Ihekoronye know by email ( that you left that message.

I need to email Vivian about my public comment. Why?

Vivian wants a copy of your comments and/or to know when you left a recorded voice message so she can have record of how many ISAIAH Saint Paul leaders voiced their support for $15 minimum wage. Having this record is a way for us to demonstrate our organized people power, especially if others try to downplay support for $15.

Questions? Concerns?

Please reach out to Vivian Ihekoronye, for more information about this.

Key Facts: $15/hour Minimum Wage in St Paul

Courtesy of ISAIAH

There is a crisis of poverty in St Paul.

  • 40% of St Paul currently lives in poverty.
    • A study by the Metropolitan Council released in spring of 2017 reported that 40.8% of all St Paul
      residents lives within 185% of the federal poverty line.
    • St Paul’s East Side, West Side, North End, Frogtown, Summit-U, Midway, and W 7th are Areas
      of Concentrated Poverty, where at least 40% of the population lives in poverty.
  • Poverty is growing in St Paul
    • Census data shows that since 2006, St Paul added six census tracts defined as Areas of
      Concentrated Poverty, meaning at least 40% of the residents of a given area live in poverty.
  • People living in poverty are working adults supporting families.
    • Of all income earned by those living in poverty, 98% is earned income, and only 2% comes from public assistance.
    • Four in five people living in poverty in the region have a high school diploma, one in six has a college degree.
    • Only one in ten people living in poverty in the region are age 65 or older.
    • About two-thirds of households in poverty have at least one adult who works.
  • Poverty in St Paul is a racial justice issue.
    • 39% of the region’s Black residents live in Areas of Concentrated Poverty, as compared with 6% of white residents.
    • All of St Paul’s Areas of Concentrated Poverty are majority People of Color.
    • According to the Metropolitan Council, “People of color face race-specific barriers that can limit their housing choices. As a result, people of color are more likely to live in Areas of Concentrated Poverty than White residents, regardless of income.”
  • The crisis of poverty intersect with the affordable housing crisis.
    • St Paul’s Areas of Concentrated Poverty have average monthly rents between $624 and $813
    • St Paul’s Areas of Concentrated Poverty have an extreme lack of affordable housing, between 8% and 27%
    • Two in three people living in poverty in the region are renters.
    • Three in four people living in poverty in the region are housing cost burdened (spend at least a third of their income on housing costs), over half are severely cost burdened (50%+ on housing)

$15/hour will help alleviate the crisis of poverty.

  • $15/hour would give 1 in 4 St Paul workers a raise
    • According to the Economic Policy Institute, 43,000 St Paul workers make less that $15/hour,
      about 24% of the total St Paul workforce.
    • Low paying sectors like Leisure & Hospitality and Health Services have grown in St Paul in
      recent years despite overall decrease in new jobs, meaning poverty-wage jobs represent a
      larger proportion of jobs available in the city.
  • Poverty wages are largely responsible for the region’s poverty.
    • Of all income earned by those living in poverty, 98% is earned income, and only 2% comes from public assistance.
    • Over half of all working aged civilians living in poverty are employed. That means they’re working, but their wages are insufficient to make ends meet.
    • About two-thirds of households in poverty have at least one adult who works.

$15 is an economically sound policy with broad benefits for small businesses.

  • Cities across the country are raising the wage and seeing the benefits.
    • More than a dozen cities of all sizes have raised the minimum wage in the last five years, and
      economic analysis confirms that it helps the lowest earners without hurting overall employment.
    • In Seattle, where the wage is already at $15/hour, low wage earners are reporting higher quality
      of life and access to basic needs. The city’s economy is booming.
    • Minneapolis just passed a $15 minimum wage in June of 2017. The first raise will take place in
      January of 2018. Big businesses phase in faster than small businesses, and every worker will
      make at least $15/hour by 2024.
  • Raising the wage would level the playing field for small businesses.
    • According to Census data analyzed by the National Employment Law Project, large retailers in Minnesota pay an average of 85% of the wages that small, locally owned retailers pay. Raising the wage would level the playing field by forcing big businesses to pay what many small businesses are already paying.
    • Better paid employees are more productive and reliable, increasing productivity and reducing turnover.
    • Living wages lead to lower turnover, which disproportionately benefits small businesses, which are not set up to absorb the costs of high turnover and training like big businesses are.
  • Raising the wage puts millions of dollars into circulation in the local economy.
    • The Minneapolis $15 minimum wage will put $140 million annually into workers’ pockets, the majority of which is spent immediately in the local economy.
    • Increasing wages puts money in workers pockets that would otherwise go into big business bank accounts.
    • Low-wage workers spend the vast majority of their paychecks immediately on consumer goods and services.