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Politics & Government

Bill boosting minimum wage to $9.20 an hour to get hearing in state House

State capitol
Lester Graham
/
Michigan Radio
The legislature will vote on changes to health care benefits for public employees tomorrow.

The debate over raising Michigan’s minimum wage moves to the state House Wednesday.

A legislative panel will hear testimony on a bill that cleared the state Senate last week. Senate Bill 934 would gradually increase the wage from $7.40 an hour to $9.20 an hour. After 2017, the minimum wage would rise with inflation.  

State Rep. Pete Lund, R-Shelby Township, chairs the panel. He says he’s open to the plan – but he has some concerns.

“It’s not just a matter of giving people raises,” said Lund. “Everybody wants a raise. Everybody thinks they deserve one. Everybody would like other people to get one. But it’s really the type of thing we need to look at from top to bottom and make sure there’s no unintended consequences.”

“How will it affect employment? How will it affect the whole economy?”

The legislation is designed to kill a petition drive to set the minimum wage at $10.10 an hour, including for tipped workers.

The top Democrat on the House committee says at first he was reluctant to support something that would take the decision away from voters.

“But over several days, I really started to think about what $9.20 does back in the community, what a $2 raise will do for a family right now,” explained state Rep. Rudy Hobbs, D-Southfield, who is also a congressional candidate.

“And I think you have to kind of go with what you can get, and sometimes a good compromise is better than nothing.”

Some Republican lawmakers say any raise in the state’s minimum wage would kill jobs and hurt the economy.

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