Could the minimum wage increase? - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Could the minimum wage increase?

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(02/10/14) - There's been a big effort to raise the minimum wage in the state.

Backers of a hike want voters to decide and say they are working to put it on the Nov. 4 ballot.

The state's current minimum wage is $7.40 hour. One group wants to see it raised to $9.50 an hour.

While some think an increase is good, others think it could hurt their bottom line. 

The thought of increasing the minimum wage has some people asking a lot of questions.

Oliver Hackney, a manager at Blackstone's in downtown Flint, says an increase may not help business.

"I know right now, especially in these winter months, it's easy to schedule a lot of servers because it's cheap. If they get raised to a $9.50 flat rate, we're not going to have as many employees in the building," he said.

Members of the Raise Michigan Coalition aren't just asking for voters to approve an increase in minimum wage to $9.50 an hour, they'll also ask to bring tipped employees to the same rate.

Right now tipped workers make $2.65 an hour.

"In a lot of other countries, they have that flat rate for tipped employees. Will we lose our tips, will that encourage people to tip even less than they do?" Hackney said.

Under the proposal, the state's minimum wage would increase by 50 cents next year and again in six months.

The final $1.10 increase will take place in January 2016.

Tipped workers pay would go up 85 cents each year starting next year until it reaches the minimum wage.

That would make it much easier for employees like Abbey Gilmore, who's already struggling to make ends meet.

"I believe they should do it just because the cost of living has been raised so a lot of people are struggling just living off minimum wage. Coming from me, I struggle with just getting gas," she said.

Members of the committee say proposed language for the ballot initiative was likely turned into the Secretary of State on Monday.

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