The Craig Fahle Show

Minimum Wage Hike Passes Senate

Friday, May 16, 2014

The state Senate has voted to increase Michigan's minimum wage to $9.20 an hour by 2017, and a minimum wage of $3.50 for tipped workers. Michigan Public Radio's Jake Neher sits down with Craig to discuss the implications of the wage hike for workers and state legislators alike. After 2017, the rates would be indexed to inflation unless the state's unemployment rate is above 10 percent. Additionally, any yearly increase could not exceed four percent.

This minimum wage proposal is quite a bit different than the one that was presented just a few days ago. Neher explains that State Sen. Randy Richardville didn't like the previous ballot initiative that proposed to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour for all workers. That wage would be devastating to Michigan's restaurant industry. Jake Neher also points out that Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Schuauer praised the new minimum wage initiative, which is very similar to a proposal Schauer unveiled last year.

So what are the concerns? According to Jake, one major concern is "whether or not House Speaker Jase Bolger is going to move forward with this vote." While we've seen a lot of issues that have split both parties, ultimately Mark Schauer and other Democrats are on board with the initiative because it surpasses the current $7.40, considered by many to be an unrealistic "poverty wage." Now the proposal will go to the State House "where things haven't been as easy," says Neher, meaning that support from Jase Bolger will be more important than ever.

--Annamarie Sysling