Lawmakers on Tuesday approved an increase to $9.25 an hour from $7.40 by 2018 in Michigan, setting one of the highest pay floors in the Midwest. The deal was an effort to quash a potential ballot proposal for a larger increase that also would have nearly quadrupled mandated pay for tipped restaurant workers.
The maneuver suggests Republicans at the state level may be willing to accept smaller, more tailored minimum-wage increases to blunt demand for the $10.10-an-hour level championed by President Barack Obama.
“When offered death or injury, we took injury,” said state Rep. Jeff Farrington, a Republican from the Detroit suburb of Utica, who negotiated the deal this week. “We didn’t really want to raise the minimum wage as much as we did, but the ballot proposal was going to crush restaurants.”
Republican Gov. Rick Snyder signed the measure Tuesday evening, hours before a restaurant workers’ group was expected to deliver a petition to place a $10.10 minimum-wage proposal on November’s ballot. Mr. Snyder faces re-election this fall.