Tom Emmer girds for overpaid waiter reaction

Waiters and waitresses around the state were startled to learn the other day that Republican candidate for governor Tom Emmer thought they were overpaid, after hearing about a very few servers at a St. Paul resto who reportedly make more than $100,000 a year.

Emmer managed to generalize that out-of-the-ballpark outlier stat to all servers in the state: He wants restaurant owners to be able to pay their wait staff a baseline sub-minimum wage.

Here's the quote that got him in trouble:

"With the tips that they get to take home, there are some people earning over $100,000 a year. More than the very people providing the jobs and investing not only their life savings but their families' future."

Make it up in tips, he told servers -- as if tips represent predictable income.

But the law's not on his side. Minnesota and six other states don't allow employers to pay workers less than the minimum wage if they earn tips.

Pilloried by his Democratic opponents for sticking it to the little people, and sensing some seriously bad PR, his campaign has announced a town hall meeting to hear from servers. It's next Wednesday, July 14, from 3-4:30 p.m. at Ol' Mexico Restaurante and Cantina, on Lexington Avenue one block north of Larpenteur in Rosedale.

As we mentioned earlier, it's not as if waiters and waitresses are rolling in dough, regardless of the well-heeled one or two. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the average yearly earnings for waiters is $22,730. Bartenders make an average of $20, 390. And yes, those figures include tips.

"I'm looking forward to a robust discussion" next Wednesday, Emmer said in a statement. His campaign told the AP it will not screen participants.

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