President Obama is expected to talk about raising the federal minimum wage in his State of the Union address tonight. Across Michigan, there’s also increasing focus on raising the minimum wage for the first time since 2008. The Raise Michigan campaign is working to get an initiative on the ballot that would raise the minimum wage to somewhere between $9 and $10.10 per hour. But the Michigan Chamber of Commerce strongly opposes raising the minimum wage. Joining us to explain why is Wendy Block, director of health policy in human resources at the Michigan Chamber of Commerce. We also spoke with Michigan State University economist Charles Ballard.
There’s a new group called the Economic Justice Coalition which is seriously considering trying to get a proposal on the ballot to raise the minimum wage in Michigan.
You might think that would make Democrats happy. Their gubernatorial candidate, Mark Schauer, came out in favor of a minimum wage hike two months ago.
But Democratic leaders aren’t thrilled with a ballot campaign, for reasons I’ll explain in a minute. Now, it’s not that they don’t want a higher minimum wage.Virtually all of them do. Schauer said if elected, he would try to raise Michigan’s from the present $7.40 an hour to $9.25 an hour over three years.