Minimum Wage Hike Proposal
Supporters said the proposed increase would help people out of poverty, but critics said it will lead to higher prices in Missouri.
The owner of Columbia's Bread Basket Cafe, David Maxwell, already pays his employees more than minimum wage. If the bill passes, he will have to pay them even more which could cause a ripple effect.
"Just about everything they buy is going to go up," said Maxwell. "So, it would really behoove us to try and give them an increase and that would mean increased prices for us."
The bill's supporters said a minimum wage hike won't affect prices much.
"The owners, as I see it, Domino's Pizza, they're not going to leave Missouri," said Democratic Rep. John Bowman of St. Louis. "What may happen is, they may add a two-cent cost to the price of a pizza."
Supporters said Missouri needs to increase its minimum wage because $5.15 has been the minimum for nine years.
"The last time this was done, was the largest increase in economic activity in decades," noted Bowman.
Maxwell said he would rather see employers spend more money to train employees.
"Learning more about the job, being more proficient at the job, being able to actually earn more because of their ability to produce more," he explained.
In addition to the Missouri House bill, supporters also hope to raise the minimum wage through a petition drive. They have until May 9 to gather enough signatures to put it on next November's ballot. Another 17 states have already raised their minimum wages.
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