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Tim Skubick: Michigan's anti-minimum wage campaign could be on the way

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Is the state’s business community fretting about a possible boost in the minimum wage?

You bet.

Are the captains of industry going to do something about it?

You bet.

What will they do?

They don’t know.

They did huddled behind closed doors last week in the Speaker’s office at the capitol in what will certainly be the first of many skull sessions to figure out their anti-minimum wage strategy.

One of the options discussed was to do nothing and let nature take its course.  “The do nothing option was taken off the table,” reveals one source.

Popular wisdom in town suggests that the coalition fixing to hike the wage to $10.10 an hour over three years will get this on the November ballot and it will likely pass and the business guys know it.

“It will be difficult to defeat,” concludes one business source.

If that happens lawmakers would have 40 days to implement the increase or, and the betting money points to this option, they could sit down with the coalition and hammer out a compromise.

Frank Houston who is running the statewide petition drive has not ruled that out, but he’s not super upbeat about that happening.

The business lobbyists and Speaker Jase Bolger did not make any decisions as they wait to see if the petition drive is going to net enough names to force the statewide vote.

In the meantime Sen. Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge) has introduced a bill to up the wage to $8.15 and hour but more importantly he keeps the restaurants at the current $2.75 pay scale.  He warns if the wages go any higher, “restaurants will go out of business.”  Problem is Mr. Houston works for the eatery employees who claim they can’t live on that and he’s unlikely to toss them under the bus to forge a compromise.

It appears at this read that the pro-minimum wage forces hold most of the cards.  Public opinion is on their side and business so far has not found the magic message to turn that opinion around which is why they will continue to meet on what to do next.
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