This proposal would increase the current Missouri minimum wage from $7.85 an hour to $8.60 an hour beginning January 1, 2019, and by 85 cents at the beginning of each year until it reaches $12.00 an hour in 2023.
It exempts government employees from these increases and raises the penalties for paying employees less than the minimum wage.
The current federal minimum wage is only $7.25 an hour. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 27 states have minimum wages higher than Missouri’s current minimum wage.
Proponents argue that the current minimum wage which results in an annual salary of $16,328 based on a 40-hour work week is not enough to support a single adult, let alone a family, causing many full time employees to rely on public assistance. They say gradually raising it will save taxpayer money on public assistance such as food stamps and Medicaid and pump more money into the local economy since workers earning the minimum wage are likely to quickly spend a high percentage of the increase on basic necessities.
Opponents including Associated Industries of Missouri and several business groups argue that the proposal would cause some employers to reduce their workforce due to higher labor costs, thus costing some workers their jobs. They also claim it would jeopardize the survival of some small businesses operating on small profit margins.