Inside and outside of Oakland

Minimum wage increase: Does it matter if Congress doesn't act?

  President Barack Obama's proposal for a national minimum wage of $9 an hour in his State of the Union message has little chance of approval by the Republican-controlled U.S. House.

  But more and more, those who look at the patchwork of minimum wage laws across the country are reaching the conclusion that what happens in Congress doesn't much matter.
  The website www.raisetheminimumwage.com notes 19 states already have a higher minimum wage than the president proposed and that other states considering an increase — New York to $8.75, Maryland to $10, Connecticut to $9.75, and New Mexico to $8.50. The website notes there are also bills pending in Illinois, California, and Massachusetts.
  In Michigan, state Sen. Bert Johnson, a Highland Park Democrat, introduced legislation to move Michigan's minimum wage to $10 an hour by 2016.
  Either the state minimum wage or the federal minimum wage prevails, depending on which is higher.
  So the question becomes, who will have the final say on hourly minimum wages? The state or Congress?
  What's your opinion?

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