How Michigan roads and minimum wage are joined at the hip

How Michigan roads and minimum wage are joined at the hip

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LANSING, Mich. (WJBK) - This is the kinda stuff they never teach in school.  If you read the government text books you are incorrectly led to believe that each legislative issue is decided on its individual merits.

Ah yes, only in academia would they should profoundly mislead you.

In the real world and in the biz, the word is linkage.  That’s having one issue that is completely different from another but very often they are linked and as one goes, so goes the other and if one doesn't’t go, neither does the other.

We have linkage or as the two legislative Democratic leaders prefer to call it, “symmetry” and “bleeding.”

Here’s the inside skinny on how roads and the minimum wage are joined at the hip.

The D’s are pretty upset over the opposition to the minimum wage from the Michigan Chamber and the impression is, if the governor wants more money for the roads, he and the R’s would have to give the D’s the wage boost or perhaps some other bargaining chit.

“For anyone to think a particular issue does not bleed into another is absolutely naive,” the senate Democratic leader professes.  So does that mean Sen. Gretchen Whitmer wants the chamber president Rich Studley to back off his anti-minimum wage move?

 “His opposition puts a lot of things in jeopardy.  I would say yeah.”

Her house counterpart is almost as obtuse on his lingo: “There is a symmetry between the governor’s increased taxes on gasoline” and the minimum wage question.  Rep. Tim Greimel argues if taxpayers are going to get hit for more road revenue, at the very least those at the lower end of the economic food chain ought to get something put back from the state via the $9.20 a hour wage which cleared the senate recently.


In a rare session with the governor this week, he met with Ms. Whitmer and Mr. Greimel without the other two GOP leaders who normally attend the so-called quadrant meetings of the four legislative leaders and the boss.

It’s a safe bet the governor was trolling for Democratic support for more road revenue and it’s a safer bet that the Democrats were not going to cough up any yes votes without something in return.

This of course is from the school of you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.

The two Democrats won’t chat about this to respect the privacy of the discussion but a third party indicates they were livid that the governor did not understand that horse trading is not a sin.

Since the Democrats don’t have enough votes in the house or the senate to pass anything, they only leverage they can apply to the process is this linking strategy,yet he apparently doesn't want to play.

The governor/CPA can count and he knows he can’t get enough votes on the road package without the D’s.  The D’s can also count and they can’t pass the minimum wage without the Republicans.

But lo and behold, at the end of the day, on a bi-partisan vote the wage when up, clearing the way for a little back scratching on raising money for the roads.


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