Michigan Governor Rick Snyder on Tuesday signed a bill to hike the minimum wage in the state to $9.25 over the next four years after the Republican-led legislature gave its stamp of approval.
Michigan is the first state with a Republican-led legislature to raise the minimum wage -- currently at $7.40. It joins Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Minnesota, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia, who have all raised their minimum wage.
Future increases will be tied to inflation.
The wage hike comes just one day before activists had planned to submit hundreds of thousands of signatures calling for a ballot initiative to hike it to $10.10, the Associated Press reported. $10.10 is the wage national Democrats and the president have championed.
"This was a great exercise in bipartisanship and both chambers working together in close partnership, coming up with an agreement and executing on that," Snyder said, according to the AP. "It's good for the hard-working people of Michigan."
Snyder, a Republican, rejected criticisms from business lobbies who said the wage hike would cut into their profits and cause layoffs; Snyder said the measure is “economically sound.”
Republican Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville said he’d introduced the wage hike bill to repeal and replace the law the ballot initiative would seek to amend; it’s unclear at this point whether the law will prevent the ballot initiative from going forward, but some Democrats voted against the bill because they said it silenced the wage petition.
“We’ll just have to see how that process flows,” Snyder told the AP when asked whether the hike would prevent the ballot initiative.
Raising the minimum wage is a key issue for Democrats across the country. Snyder is up for re-election this November; his Democratic challenger, Mark Schauer, had championed a very similar wage hike proposal and had set it up to be a hot topic of debate.
Organizers of the ballot initiative took credit for the legislative action.
"We know this is the only Republican conservative Legislature to consider an increase in the minimum wage, and that's a direct result of our work on the campaign," Danielle Atkinson, a representative for the group leading the ballot drive, Raise Michigan, told the Associated Press.