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Honour: Freeze Minimum Wage, Cut Minnesota Taxes

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Four days after Minnesota's minimum wage rose to $8 an hour, a top Republican candidate for Minnesota governor proposed freezing the wage at its current level, and abolishing future automatic increases.

The new minimum wage law includes automatic increases to $9.50 an hour by 2016.

"I think having a minimum wage makes sense, but I think this state is taking it too far," said Scott Honour, a businessman who has never sought public office before.

The Republican candidate for governor says Minnesota lawmakers should be required to vote for any future wage hikes.

"We deserve to see a government that runs in a way that gives us the best value. And we are not getting that today," he said.

The wage freeze is part of Honour's aggressive economic plan, which includes:

-- Cutting income taxes, including repealing the income tax hike on high income Minnesotans.

-- Cutting corporate tax rates, and simplifying the tax code.

-- Cutting spending by 10 percent.

-- Abolishing MNsure, the state's online health exchange under the new federal health care law.

-- And making Minnesota a "right to work" state, with union membership voluntary.

The author of Minnesota's minimum wage hike says Honour is trying to appeal to a more conservative GOP voter base ahead of next Tuesday's primary election.

Rep. Ryan Winkler says the automatic increases are essential to bring Minnesota workers to a living wage.

"It sounds like he's wanting two sides of it," said Winkler, a Democrat from Golden Valley. "He doesn't want to be against the minimum wage, which is popular, but he doesn't want to do any more of it and be responsible for that either. Sounds like he's playing both sides of the issue."

Some 114,000 Minnesota workers got a pay hike when the minimum wage went up last week.

In total, 350,000 workers will get a wage increase.

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