King Richardville reigns supreme in Michigan’s Senate. Hail to Michigan’s royalty!
A slightly revised version of his minimum wage bill designed to negate the citizen-driven Raise Michigan Committee’s minimum wage ballot initiative finds itself halfway along the path to undermine democracy with its passage in the Senate today — occurring with some Democratic support. Now it slithers-on over to the House.
Fancying himself a benevolent despot, Richardville generously met the ballot team halfway. The petition currently circulating would raise the minimum wage to $10.10 by 2017, while the Republican Senator’s first proposal came in at $8.15, the version of SB-934 that passed this afternoon provides for an increase to $9.20 by 2017.
The dirty tricks under Richardville have earned the Senate a new level of revulsion among both the press and policy-wonks across the political spectrum. Opening my daily paper this morning, I found a scathing editorial on the lowball tactics of these elected officials. Two days ago, both Jack Lessenberry and Right Michigan excoriated Senate leaders for their shenanigans. The anger expressed is over the usurpation of the democratic process, not the dollars and cents of the minimum wage — but GOP Senate leadership missed the point, and true to form, thought it was all about money.
However, for low-income workers, it really is about the nickels and dimes.
To lawmakers who earn a comfortable state salary, the 90¢ difference between the Raise Michigan initiative and the Richardville proposal may not seem like a lot, but to the working poor, $1,872 a year truly is a king’s ransom.
Under the Richardville plan, a person working full-time at minimum wage would earn $19,136 per year. Of course, most of those jobs will be capped at 28 hours a week, so the “full-time” calculations would necessitate multiple employers.
Using the 2014 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services poverty guidelines, Richardville’s 2017 proposal of $9.20 an hour comes in at about 20 percent below the poverty level for a family of four — without factoring for annual increases in the cost of living.
The legislative analysis of this bill indicates that approximately 1600 executive branch state employees are currently working at, or near, minimum wage. These are capitol building workers, who empty Richardville’s wastebasket and clean the Senate men’s restroom toilets.
As Senate Majority Leader, Richardville’s compensation package is as follows:
Well, apparently it really is good to be king.
Updated 6:30 pm, May 15, 2014.
Related article here on how Senate Democrats participated in helping Republicans dismantle the constitutionally mandated democratic process in Michigan.