By Carol Cain

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By Carol Cain
CBS Detroit

Rich Studley, president and CEO of Michigan’s Chamber of Commerce, said the state’s current minimum wage of $7.40 an hour was satisfactory given most people got raises anyway, adding increasing it would hurt businesses and the economy.

MM Pic 2 copyDanielle Atkinson, co-founder of Mothering Justice, a statewide organization that is part of Raise Michigan – a coalition working to get the issue onto Michigan’s November ballot ,  argued too many people are suffering as they are paid minimum wage which hasn’t been boosted since 2008 in Michigan.

Increasing the wage would help workers and the economy, said Atkinson.The Raise Michigan coalition is working to raise it to $9.50 an hour.

And so it went as the duo engaged in a healthy debate during taping of “Michigan Matters” over the issue which has been gaining lots of attention.

President Barack Obama also talked of raising the minimum wage on a  federal level during his recent state of the union speech where he said he would sign an executive order raising it from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour for companies gaining new federal contracts.

Of Tigers, Cheeks, and Mother Nature

On the “Michigan Matters” roundtable, Denise Ilitch, CEO of Ilitch Enterprises, mentioned the early home opener of the Detroit Tigers on March 31 and the buzz already building.

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Her father, Mike Ilitch, owns the Tigers as well as Detroit Red Wings.

“We haven’t had an opener that early in recent years” said Ilitch, as spring training opened this week in Lakeland, Fla.

Normally the home opener is the first week of April. That week can make a big time difference in the Winter Wonderland state where snow and baseball don’t mix too well.

litch appeared with Rich Studley and political pundit Cliff Russell on the show.

Excitement over the Tigers is building as all suites at Comerica Park are already sold out for the first 10 games, she added.

Russell, who once played on the men’s basketball team at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) against Maurice Cheeks, who  was on West Texas State (now called West Texas A & M University), spoke about Cheeks  — who was relieved of his duty as coach of the Detroit Pistons this week.

“It was obvious he didn’t have the support of the players and that is always trouble,” said Russell.

Russell added his college team also beat Cheeks’ team – twice!

You can hear more of the conversation by watching “Michigan Matters” 11:30 a.m. Sunday on CBS 62.

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(Carol Cain is the Emmy winning Senior Producer/Host of “Michigan Matters.” She also writes about business and politics in Sunday’s Detroit Free Press. She can be reached at