Traverse City Record-Eagle

Opinion

June 7, 2014

Another View: Minimum wage compromise worth cheering about

For a few hours it looked like retrograde Republicans in the state House had figured out how to kill a bipartisan compromise designed to improve the lot of Michigan’s working families.

But cooler heads prevailed, and the result was a minimum-wage bill that gives both parties something to cheer about.

We didn’t think much of Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville’s proposal to boost Michigan’s $7.40-an-hour minimum wage when he unveiled it a couple of weeks ago. Combining a paltry three-year, 75-cent hike with some procedural sleight-of-hand calculated to knock a more generous minimum-wage proposal off the November ballot, Richardville’s opening gambit struck us as a cynical power play, one that effectively stripped voters of their constitutional right to bypass legislators insensitive to their constituents’ priorities.

But we were pleasantly surprised when the Senate disgorged a compromise bill that would raise the minimum wage to $9.20 by 2017 — two-thirds of the $2.70 hike sought by champions of the ballot proposal.

The compromise captured the support of 10 Democratic state senators, enough to guarantee its passage by an unusual 24-12 bipartisan majority.

For once, the Senate was doing what voters have repeatedly implored their elected representatives in Lansing to do: rise above partisan gridlock to deliver progress on important economic issues.

Then, on Tuesday, the Republican-led House Government Operations Committee weighed in with its own minimum-wage bill, a deal-buster calculated to nip the Senate’s bipartisan initiative in the bud.

Like the Senate-passed bill, the Government Operations Committee’s version would have replaced, rather than amended, Michigan’s existing minimum-wage statute — a strategy whose only purpose is to render Raise Michigan’s $10.10 ballot initiative moot by repealing the law that the initiative seeks to amend.

But instead of ameliorating that insult to voters with a substantial minimum-wage hike, the committee bill would have slashed the increase to just $1.10 an hour over three years. It also stripped out the annual inflation adjustment that state senators had preserved in their compromise bill.

Text Only

Opinion Poll
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA