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LANSING, MICH. - Less than two months after Michigan’s minimum wage was bumped to $8.90 an hour, a state lawmaker wants to see the rate jump by more than 68 percent starting next year.
State Sen. Coleman Young II, who last week announced his candidacy to become the next mayor of Detroit, introduced a bill to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour starting Jan. 1, 2018.
That’s far more generous than the $9.25 per hour rate already slated to kick in next year. Michigan’s minimum wage went from $8.50 an hour to $8.90 an hour in January.
Six states and the District of Columbia have minimum wages of $10 or more. Protests were held across the country last fall, demanding a $15 minimum wage.
The proposed hike isn’t being embraced by the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, however.
“We believe the Michigan Legislature should stick with the plan they overwhelmingly adopted in 2014 and is still being implemented,’’ Michigan Chamber of Commerce spokesperson Wendy Block said. “If Michigan were to adopt this plan, it would immediately result in the highest minimum wage in the country.’’
The chamber, she said, advocates for policies that help workers get jobs. Spiking wages to $15 an hour would “cripple jobs in the state,’’ she said.
“Sometimes these proposals have the opposite effect of helping workers,’’ Block said.
Under the Senate bill, future wage increases in Michigan would by tied to changes in the consumer price index; annual increases cannot exceed 3.5 percent. Inflationary increases would be mothballed if the state’s unemployment rate hits 8.5 percent or more.
Senate Bill 185, introduced last week, would amend the Workforce Opportunity Wage Act of 2014, which calls for gradual increases in the minimum wage through 2018. At the time it was passed, Michigan’s minimum wage was $7.40 an hour. Workers saw hourly wages increase to $8.15 an hour in Sept. 2014.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 19 states, including Michigan, began the new year with higher minimum wages.
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