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Schauer: Raising minimum wage would be a top priority if elected governor

Mark Schauer

The likely Democratic candidate for governor in 2014 says raising Michigan’s minimum wage would be one of his top priorities in office, if elected.

Former Congressman Mark Schauer wants to increase the minimum wage to $9.25/hour. Right now, it’s $7.40/hour.

Schauer’s plan would be phased in over three years, and would also allow the minimum wage to increase automatically with inflation.

“The minimum wage, $7.40 an hour, earns someone working full time $15,392 a year. Now, if that’s a mom raising even one child – let alone two or three – they’re raising their children in poverty,” Schauer said as he announced his proposal Monday in Detroit.

He said he also wants to increase the minimum wage for tipped workers, which is currently $2.65/hour. But he did not specify how much he’s calling for that number to increase.

Schauer says a higher minimum wage would also help Michigan businesses by creating more demand for products and services.

“We’ll hear the same old thing from critics - that this will cost us jobs. It’s exactly the opposite of that. This is good for our economy and will put people to work,” said Schauer.

Governor Rick Snyder was quick to respond to Schauer’s proposal.

"That's a significant hike and that could be a challenge,” said Snyder. “Again, that's one of those issues -- it hadn't been a hot topic at all in Lansing in terms of significant issues because we're already above the federal minimum."

The last time Michigan raised its minimum wage was in 2008.