I was at the House Government Oversight Committee meeting today where lawmakers were taking testimony on SB934, a bill that would scuttle the efforts of the Raise Michigan Coalition to give families a wage that would help lift them out of poverty. This bill is not about raising the wage. It’s about undermining the voice of the people. Richardville even said so himself.
Here are my observations from the committee meeting today:
- The business and corporate lobby didn’t have one single woman testify today on an issue that overwhelmingly affects women. Nor did they have a single worker testify.
- Nearly all the business owners that lobbyists brought before the committee said they paid their workers above the minimum wage. And yet, they went on record saying a higher minimum wage would somehow hurt their business.
- The National Federation of Independent Businesses said the minimum wage is a “starting wage,” while at the same time sitting next to two business owners who both said they started employees at above minimum wage. Irony much?
- The Small Business Association of Michigan said they believe there should not be a minimum wage at all. (!)
- The restaurant lobby refused to explain why taxpayers should subsidize corporate bottom lines by providing public assistance to help feed the families of their employees. “I can’t speak to that,” I believe, was the answer they gave.
- While the committee hearing was intended to discuss SB934, business lobbyists continually attacked the efforts of the Raise Michigan Coalition rather than speak to the pertinent legislation. (Focus, people. Focus!)
The business lobby should just come clean and tell people the truth: They don’t want to raise the minimum wage because it will hurt the profits of the CEOs and corporations they represent.
Since 1968, the value of the minimum wage has decreased by 20 percent. And if the wage is not raised to keep up with inflation, the value will decrease another 15 percent by 2022. The current minimum wage is broken and it’s time to fix it. It’s time to get on board with the Raise Michigan Coalition.