Restaurant, retail organizations oppose wage hike

Restaurant and retail associations denounced raising the minimum wage during a Michigan House committee hearing Wednesday, clashing with Democratic lawmakers who back an increase.
AP Wire
May 22, 2014

The Michigan Restaurant Association, National Federation of Independent Business and other groups said a wage hike would cut into businesses' profits, which could cause closures and layoffs. Many members said an ongoing ballot drive to up the wage to $10.10 an hour would be especially "devastating" because it eliminates a separate payment scale for tipped workers.

"If you could move something forward so at least it's a compromise, it'll be better than that ballot that's moving forward. That's the devastating one for us," said Jim Holton, MRA chairman and owner of Mountain Town Station Brewing Company & Steakhouse in Mt. Pleasant.

Restaurateurs said they might support a revision to the bill sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, which currently raises the wage to $9.20 from $7.40 by 2017, and to $3.50 from $2.65 for tipped workers. They urged House members not to tie the wage to inflation, as it is in the bill.

Richardville's bill would allow the minimum wage to rise by up to 4 percent annually to adjust for inflation starting in October 2017. Democrats say the measure would limit the need for future legislative action on the issue. But Rep. Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, said it would discourage economic growth in Michigan because business owners won't invest in a state where wages go up frequently.

Government Operations Committee chair Rep. Pete Lund, R-Shelby Township, wouldn't indicate what changes might be made to the Senate bill before the committee sends it to the full House. The committee will reconvene at 9 a.m. Thursday, he said.

The Republican-led Senate passed the bill 24-14 with bipartisan support last week.

Democratic lawmakers advocated for increasing the minimum wage during the hearing, saying a raise would lift thousands of Michigan residents out of poverty and an inflation measure would help them stay out.

"The benefit obviously is allowing people to keep up with the increases that happen each year, because otherwise we're just going backward," said Gilda Jacobs, president of the Michigan League for Public Policy and a former Democratic state lawmaker.

Richardville designed the bill to nullify the ballot drive led by the Raise Michigan coalition, which would amend current law to $10.10 an hour by 2017, including for tipped workers. His bill would repeal the existing wage law and enact a new one, making the ballot measure moot.

House Democrats' dilemma is whether to vote for a bill that minimum wage advocates say silences voters. The ballot campaign led by Raise Michigan has collected more than the 258,000 signatures needed to appear on the November ballot.

Rep. Rudy Hobbs, D-Southfield, said he leans toward "a very soft yes" vote on the current bill, but would not support the bill if the committee removes the inflation measure or lowers the target wage from $9.20.

"We're going to have a hard time getting it out of committee in terms of the way we want to see it as Democrats ... and what Republicans have supported in the Senate," he said.

Comments

Wolverine49457

This is now a political football, democrats want to "show" they wanted a huge increase but those meany pants republicans crushed it...once again like amnesty, obama care and Veterans Affairs democrats are more about flash than substance. Most people would support an increase but not as much as the democrats desire, entry level jobs are just that...the bottom skill level of the skills barrel and not worth a lot of investment in a person until they learn the ropes and prove they'll show up regularly.

Mystic Michael

You certainly are lumping a bunch of unrelated programs/issues into one category. So what exactly is the common thread that supposedly runs through each? "Things that Wolverine doesn't appreciate and/or doesn't understand?"

* If by "amnesty" you mean immigration reform, the substantive bill has been parked in the House for quite some time - but the Teahadist majority won't let Speaker Boehner even touch it.

* The Affordable Care Act has already been very substantively saving lives and reducing healthcare costs.

* Not sure where you're going with "Veterans Affairs", but if you're referring to the current problems, you should be fair and honest, and admit that the VA has been underfunded and overworked for many years already - and that the huge surge in its workload caused by Bush & Cheney's wars didn't help matters much.

Now then, back to the original topic: With regard to your understanding of contemporary labor issues, it's clear that you're still living in a Norman Rockwell world: quaint, folksy, sentimental...and ultimately rooted in a reality that hasn't existed outside of a Ronald Reagan movie for close to 70 years - if even then.

It's time to snap out of your nostalgic fantasy and take a good look at what's actually happening out there in the real world. The legacy of the Bush-Cheney economy of the early Aughts, with its destruction of lucrative jobs in favor of low-paying service jobs, remains with us to this day. Men and women in their 20s, 30s and 40s now work many of those jobs - because the remnant of the Bush-Cheney economy left over won't reward their educations, skills, or talents sufficient to afford them any other opportunities.

Straightjacket

I always tip 20% more or less more often more. Yet while traveling in other countries in Asia if you leave money on the table they will chase you out the door to return it to you, no tipping in some countries. So restaurants should just raise the prices 20% and we stop tipping, and they pay employees more money. I actually prefer the no tip rule and workers make ten bucks an hour.

W.MI.MAN

This will no doubt cause some inflation. Business's will have to raise prices's for most good's & service's. From restaurant, and gas stations to grocery store's and pharmacy. Because almost all business & industry use some sort of unskilled labor in the proses of getting goods or service to the end customer.
When the minimum wage goes up the people getting the raise in their wage will probably break even when inflation catches up to their new wage.
The real problem is going to be what happens to people living on retirement, social security or any other sort of fixed income. They will not get a raise in their income to the level being given to unskilled, entry level or student's after school jobs.
There are a lot of retired people that have a hard time making ends meet as it is. This is going to put elderly, & sick people in a bad situation.
I don't believe there is any thought being given to how this will multiply many other problems.

Lanivan

What about the Republican proposal to increase wholesale gas prices that will be passed on to retired people? And while we're at it - what about the Republican Paul Ryan budget that was unanimously passed by House Republicans that would gut Social Security and turn Medicare into a program where the elderly would be stuck dealing directly with insurance companies, hospitals, and doctors for figuring out how to pay for their medical care?

Should go over great with those senior citizens, hard of hearing, no internet service, possibly with a dementia, living alone, sick, in pain, and confused, trying to dicker with an insurance company on the phone over the bills coming in on their new pacemaker or cancer treatments.

Vladtheimp

What about Obamacare that turns American health care into the Veterans Administration rationed healthcare? What about Obamacare that stole over $700 Billion from Medicare, which is dedicated to the health care of seniors? http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default...

What about the bipartisan Michigan proposal to bail out Detroit at the expense of our infrastructure and roads? What about the latest Obama proposal to bail out the insurance companies if they don't raise premiums because of Obamacare mandates? What about the latest Barack Hussein Obama budget that received 2 votes in the House of Representatives? Obama budget defeated 413-2; plans are unpopular on both sides. What about Obamacare causing hospitals to put seniors on an "Observation" Status to keep from being penalized by Obamacare and putting the costs on Seniors?

Your talking points are becoming an embarrassment - when will you realize that?

Lanivan

1. Republican Lie about CBO Analysis = Truth: Repeal of Obamacare Would add $109 billion to federal budget deficits. http://www.cbo.gov/publication/4...

2. Lie about Obama "stealing" $700 billion from Medicare/Hospital readmissions = Truth: "Obamacare does not literally cut funding from the Medicare budget, but tries to bring down future health care costs in the program. Much of this is accomplished by reducing Medicare Advantage, a small subset of Medicare plans that are run by private insurers.

President George W. Bush started Medicare Advantage in hopes the increased competition would reduce costs. But those plans are actually costlier than traditional Medicare. So the health care law reduces payments to private insurers.

Hospitals, too, will be paid less if they have too many re-admissions, or if they fail to meet other new benchmarks for patient care.

The goal is get health care providers to increase their efficiency and quality of care instead of cutting benefits for seniors." http://www.politifact.com/truth-...

3. Republican Lie about Obama budget = Truth: “This House Republican amendment is not about enacting the president’s budget — it is a political stunt designed to distract from the deep damage that the House Republican Budget Resolution would do,” OMB spokesman Steve Posner said in an e-mailed statement.

The White House “would welcome votes on the actual provisions” of Obama’s budget, Posner said, rejecting the idea that the amendment on Obama’s budget was such a vote. “That is not what this amendment represents, and a vote for or against this amendment is not a vote for or against the president’s policies.” http://go.bloomberg.com/politica...

Your talking points are becoming an embarrassment - when will you realize that?

Boater

I'd much rather deal directly with insurance companies than the Federal Gov't. The Gov't wastes so much money its disgusting.

Lanivan

Clearly, you do not know what you are talking about. I have been closely involved with four parents in their final years, helping these formerly highly independent, functional, intelligent people with serious medical problems involving home health care professionals, various doctors and specialists, insurance companies, hospitals, nursing homes, rehab units, assisted living facilities, and Medicare.

In every single situation, the problems that were created, and the very frustrating communications to get them solved, had to do with every institution except Medicare.

With the reams of paperwork I processed, phone calls I made, and time and energy expended in trying to get things worked out and to relieve my parents of their high anxiety, confusion, and distress over these problems, I never once had to concern myself with Medicare.

It worked like clockwork, accurate, timely, and reliable. Working with insurance companies - not so much.

W.MI.MAN

The issue for this article is about giving a higher minimum wage to people, I was just trying to point out some of the problems with the things that will happen soon after it would be implemented.
How would it affect people you know that are on some sort of fixed income?
Has anyone thought of how to make sure the elderly & sick would not be adversely affected?
I think this is what happens in Washington,
As soon as someone questions what one party is going to do about a problem any new bill or program will cause, the other party brings up a different bill or program the other is working on.
(Democrats vs. Republican or vise-versa)
They all need to stay on point of the matter in front of them. Figure out if it will have bad uninteded circumstances. If so work on fixing them before making anything law. If it can't be fixed don't change it until lt can.
Then move on to another matter,

Lanivan

Point taken. And the purpose of my comments were in response to the knee-jerk reaction that all problems are the result of government, and that eliminating government is the solution. It's never as simple and easy as that.

But I agree with your premise, and will expand on it by saying any and all changes to wages, the economy, health care, and the other important defining issues of the day, whether through public or private actions, affect society in indirect and direct ways. Responsible business and government should consider all aspects of society before making these changes - look at the big picture, connect all the dots.

In the current environment, too many state, local, and federal governments, as well as businesses, do not assess all the factors and unintended circumstances before making big changes. They are under pressure to balance the budget, the bottom line, without looking at the domino effect. And this makes it all too easy for people to make blanket statements, such as Boaters.

Vladtheimp

The obvious purpose of your comment was to support Obama and the Democrats and debase Republicans - nice try to attempt to back off of it now. W.MI.MAN made a comment about minimum wage, not Paul Ryan's budget and "senior citizens, hard of hearing, no internet service, possibly with a dementia, living alone, sick, in pain, and confused, trying to dicker with an insurance company on the phone over the bills coming in on their new pacemaker or cancer treatments" which just happens to be a good description of life under Obamacare.

Point taken indeed - point ignored is closer to the point.

Lanivan

The thrust of my argument was based on Boater's comment that he would rather deal with insurance companies than the government. You are the one attempting to twist the comment into some Obama/Dem thing, which was the furthest thing from mind. My concern is with the Paul Ryan budget, that would result in a seriously compromised group of senior citizens, a group that has been well-served by Social Security and Medicare. Pushing to gut those two programs that have given millions of seniors independence, a decent quality of life, and peace of mind in their final years - and which they have paid into their whole lives - to punish people for being elderly by robbing them of a sense of security - is beyond the pale.

I agreed with W.MI.MAN on many points, and expressed this thoroughly. Grow up and quit twisting everything to make it look like big, bad Obama/Dems vs poor, innocent Republicans who are meek wallflowers just wanting to do the right thing. Grow up! You can do it - it's not too late.

Interestedreader

to late for comment the Gov. just signed a 4 step increase,have fun on the Island Gov. Rick

pablo

wow, so partisan. so we increase the ' livable wage', small price to pay for automation. for instance, went through a large fast food chain drive through yesterday and noticed the automated soda machine. businesses will continue to try to increase revenues because that is what they are in business for. who ever heard of a business owner opening a new business and striving to become 'middle class' . i bet most who open a business are trying to make as much money as possible and potentially would like to open more businesses to make more money. increase in min wage = less employees + more automation.

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