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Minnesota Republican: Restaurant Servers Secretly Wealthy

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Minnesota Republican candidate for governor Tom Emmer has proposed allowing restaurants to subsidize their waitstaff's wages with tips from customers; specifically, he would like to lower hourly rates to $2.13 with the assumption that the difference would be made up in gratuities. While common in other parts of the country, Minnesota does not currently allow wage subsidization, and servers make $5.25-$6.15/hour plus gratuity, depending on the size of the restaurant.

Seems like a pretty good way to lose a bunch of current and former servers' votes. Why would Emmer be willing to risk that during an election?

Because there are all kinds of wealthy servers out there making over $100,000 per year, and that's just ridiculous! They are sneaking off with your hard earned dollars and probably spending them on extravagant things like the health insurance their employers don't provide for them. Emmer claims the owner of a St. Paul restaurant told him that he has three servers taking home that number, and has used the anecdote to back up his argument for subsidizing wages.

Except, oh, wait, no one is actually earning that much money. Median earnings for full-time servers in Minnesota, including tips, are just over $19,000, and one would have to sell $500,000 worth of food and receive 20% tips to make over a hundred grand. It was a nice thought, though.

· Emmer's Minimum-Wage Fallout: Who Makes $100,000 as a Waiter or Bartender? [MinnPost via Heavy Table]

Tom Emmer [Photo:]