House Dem Bills Aim to Support Michigan Workers in Wake of COVID-19 Pandemic

Friday, June 19, 2020

LANSING, Mich., June 19, 2020 — State Reps. Kristy Pagan (D-Canton), Darrin Camilleri (D-Brownstown), Abdullah Hammoud (D-Dearborn) and Bill Sowerby (D-Clinton Township) introduced a comprehensive package of bills this week to support Michigan workers by addressing income inequality, increasing corporate transparency, providing a living wage for employees and capping inflated executive salaries for businesses that receive state or federal support during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The state of Michigan has announced it faces an expected total budget shortfall of $6.2 billion for the remainder of this fiscal year and next, resulting from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Without taking immediate action, significant and difficult spending cuts for essential departments like education, and health and human services may cause serious, long-lasting harm to Michigan residents.  

“Even prior to the budgetary challenges posed by COVID-19, our state has been underfunding our students by more than $2,000 per pupil while continuing to dole out tax cuts to corporations more concerned with their bottom lines,” said Pagan, who is the ranking Democrat on the School Aid Appropriations Committee. “These bills will serve as an important step toward reordering our state’s priorities to reflect what matters most: building a stronger future for all Michiganders.” 

Additionally, this package of bills would address a potential overlap in state incentives and federal funds for large businesses and corporations by ensuring companies receiving taxpayer dollars provide direct support to their employees. 

The package would require businesses receiving taxpayer support through the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) to:

  • HB 5867: Pay their employees a living wage of $15/hour (not applicable to businesses with 50 or fewer employees and/or less than $1 million received from the MSF)
  • HB 5871: Cap their executive salaries to a limit of 100 times that of their lowest paid employee (not applicable to businesses with 50 or fewer employees and/or less than $1 million received from the MSF)
  • HB 5870: Increase transparency by disclosing executive salaries and median employee pay to the Michigan Department of Treasury, to be posted and publicly available on the Treasury’s website
  • HB 5869: Require the disclosure of initial and remaining amounts of credits received, and make that data available on the Treasury’s website

For companies in Michigan with more than 50 employees or received more than $1 million in federal stimulus funds related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the bills would also require them to:

  • HB 5868: Pay their employees a living wage, or become ineligible for any payments through the MSF
  • HB 5872: Cap their executive salaries to a limit of 100 times that of their lowest paid employee, or also become ineligible for any payments through the MSF.