Emmer campaign asks for seconds on tip credit issue

Emmer and Seifert square off in Rochester

Catching up with kvetches from the Tom Emmer campaign regarding how the media (including us) covered his gaffe regarding the tip credit and the $100,000 waitresses.

GOP'er Emmer's campaign for governor has had a rough go of it since the infamous July 5 appearance at the Eagle Street Grille near the Xcel Center in downtown St. Paul. Since then, he's critiqued some reporters who drew the inference from his remarks that he would welcome a tip credit or cut in minimum wage for waitresses.

P-B local news editor Mike Klein went back through our coverage and came up with this:

Political reporter Heather Carlson carefully worded it thus in her initial story:

    While Minnesota restaurant owners have long pushed for a change in state law allowing employers to pay tipped employees less than minimum wage, the issue has gained new attention thanks to one gubernatorial candidate.


    Earlier this week, Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer spoke out in support of a "tip credit" that would factor in tips when determining the minimum wage for restaurant servers, bartenders and other gratuity-based jobs.

In the editing process, the story was shortened, and it was changed to "Tom Emmer's proposal to pay employees who get tips less than minimum wage."

Less precise as to Emmer's exact quote, but:

All of Emmer's comments at the briefing point to the fact that when he referred to a "tip credit," he was referring to a means to reduce the waiter minimum wage to account for tips, as is done in 43 states. Eric Atherton has watched the tape and there is no reference to a mere freeze in the minimum wage.

Also, this paragraph was in Heather's initial article and was cut. Perhaps it had meaningful context: Emmer has said he supports a tip credit, although he did not clarify what he thinks the minimum rate should be for tipped employees. Campaign spokesman Bill Walsh said Emmer has supported a proposal at the legislature in the past to freeze wages for tipped employees when the minimum wage was increased by a little more than $1 per hour.

If he had meant to refer to a freeze in the minimum wage, why did it take long for these allegations (from the Emmer campaign) to come out?

David Brauer has a good column on the subject at MinnPost. Among the reporting he cites:

As KTCA’s Mary Lahammer reported , Emmer had proposed abolishing the minimum wage in 2005, so he has a track record on the wage-cut issue. Lahammer also noted GOP House Minority Leader Kurt Zellers’ claim that the Minnesota Restaurant Association has a freeze proposal on the table. (The industry proposed something similar in 2007, according to  Business Journal ; a 2009 "Super Wage/Tip Credit" plan would freeze those at federal minimums if they earned over $12 an hour between wages and tips.)


I think it's telling that Emmer and company are just letting the issue go at this point -- damage done, time to move on.

Emmer campaign asks for seconds on tip credit issue

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