With buck bump to $9 per hour, Minnesota ushers in top state minimum wage in middle America

Minnesota will vault past Illinois, Michigan and South Dakota this week to gain the highest minimum wage in the Midwestern region at $9 an hour.

The dollar-per-hour bump taking effect Saturday for some 288,000 of Minnesota's lowest-paid workers is the second of a three-stage increase adopted in 2014. Next August, the wage will rise again to $9.50 and it will go up automatically with inflation in years to follow.

For now, this step gives Minnesota the highest minimum wage of any state away from the east or west coasts. The next closest in the region are South Dakota's $8.50, Illinois' $8.25 and Michigan's $8.15.

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton says the higher wage is about "allowing people to earn a better living through their work" not handouts.