Michigan 8th State This Year to Raise Minimum Wage, but First with Republican Legislature

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Not all Republicans, like those in Congress, are dead set against the idea of raising the minimum wage. GOP lawmakers in Michigan just helped approve a hike in that state’s minimum wage, becoming the first Republican legislature (and eighth state overall) to approve an increase this year.


The Michigan raise will boost the wage from its current $7.40 to $9.25 an hour in stages, reaching the new level by 2018. It also will trigger automatic increases beginning in 2019 based on inflation. Tipped workers were included in the plan, with their base minimum wage going up from $2.65 to $3.52.


The achievement was truly bipartisan, with about half of Republican legislators joining Democrats to pass the bill through both halves of the Michigan statehouse. GOP Governor Rick Snyder quickly signed the plan, which could generate the first increase as early as September.


Some Republicans begrudgingly supported the measure, fearing a worse alternative: Labor groups have been collecting signatures for a ballot initiative that calls for raising the state minimum wage to $10.10 per hour, the same level that President Barack Obama has called for. By pushing through the legislative plan, Republicans effectively thwarted the ballot measure.


In addition, studies have shown that having a minimum wage initiative on a ballot drives low-wage voters to the polls. Those people are more likely to support Democratic candidates, so GOP legislators were eager to keep those voters at home this November if they could.


The National Employment Law Project, which supported the $10.10 hike, said in a press release that the bill included language “repealing the portions of the Michigan minimum wage law that the initiative would amend, and recodifying them elsewhere in the state code.”


In addition to Michigan, seven other states have increased their minimum wages this year: Delaware and West Virginia (above $8/hour), Minnesota ($9.50), Hawaii, Maryland, and Connecticut ($10.10) and Vermont ($10.50).

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

First Republican State Legislature Passes A Minimum Wage Hike (by Bryce Covert, Think Progress)

Snyder Signs Minimum Wage Hike to $9.25; Workers May See Raise by Sept. 1 (by Kathleen Gray, Detroit Free Press)

Michigan Legislature Raises Minimum Wage to $9.25 by 2018; Future Increases Tied to Inflation (by Melissa Anders, Michigan Live)

Wage Initiatives Motivate Voters, Study Finds (by Jessica Benton Cooney, New York Times)

If a High Minimum Wage Kills Jobs, How Do You Explain San Francisco? (by Ken Broder, AllGov California)

42 Republican Senators Successfully Block Raising Minimum Wage (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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