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Republican state senator introduces bill to increase minimum wage

Inside the state Capitol Building, Lansing, MI
Cedar Bend
Inside the state Capitol Building, Lansing, MI

Michigan voters could see a question about increasing the minimum wage on the ballot this year. A petition drive is under way to collect enough signatures. But one Republican lawmaker has introduced a bill to increase the minimum wage in Michigan. Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, wants to increase the minimum wage from $7.40 to $8.15 an hour and an increase from $2.65 to $2.75 an hour for tipped workers.

“I’m suggesting that this is a good alternative," Jones says. "I don’t want to see all these waiters and waitresses lose these jobs; many of them are single moms who depend on this income and this is very good income for somebody typically with just a high school diploma."

Jones believes that minimum wage is intended as a starter job and that there are good jobs in Michigan, but that companies are having a difficult time filling those positions. Jones emphasizes that people need to understand the risks behind a possible ballot proposal to increase the minimum wage.

“I want to make sure that everybody out there thinking about signing this petition understands how dangerous this proposal is. We’re talking devastating job losses for waiters and waitresses especially and I don’t want to see these jobs go away.”

Jones says that there is some political support for his bill and that the response from the business community has been generally positive.

“The business community, the restaurant community are calling me and thanking me for introducing the bill. I think it’s a reasonable concept and we hope we can move forward.”

Listen to the full story above.

– Omar Saadeh, Michigan Radio Newsroom