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Legislative End Run Could Derail Minimum Wage Effort

Date: May 13, 2014

Legislation that has been introduced in the state Senate could put a halt to efforts by labor unions and minimum wage advocates to put an increase on the November ballot.

Senate Bill 934, introduced by Senate majority Leader Randy Richardville, is on a fast track for passage in the Senate. The bill would repeal the current state Minimum Wage law and replace it with a new one that would raise the minimum wage 75 cents to $8.15 an hour and raise the minimum for tipped employees by 28 cents to $2.93 an hour. This would be much less than the union backed $10.10 an hour and it would also avoid indexing the wage to inflation and eliminating the tipped wage credit. The bill could also derail the labor union’s ballot effort because the language in the union proposal would be referencing the old law that no longer exists because it was repealed by SB 934.

Labor union front groups are buying the signatures they need to put an increase in the state minimum wage on the November ballot. The groups, calling themselves “Raise Michigan” are seeking to move the state minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2017. The proposal they are pushing would also eliminate the “tip credit” for restaurant and food service workers and index the higher wage to inflation.

Since they are paying people to gather the signatures, it is highly likely that they will succeed in getting the number required to get their wage hike proposal on the ballot in November. Every poll taken on the proposal shows that it would be passed by voters as it has in every other state where it has been on the ballot.

If successful, the effort by the Senate would dodge a much worse ballot proposal that would be a severe hardship on many small businesses if passed by voters.

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