Missourians Raging Over Rages

Related Story

JEFFERSON CITY- A Senate committee met Tuesday to discuss House Bill 61 and listen to testimony from proponents and opponents of the bill.

A new law would amend the 2006 voter-approved law that allows the minimum wage of Missouri to be adjusted according to the annual cost of living and inflation. The new law would prohibit Missouri's minimum wage from exceeding the federal minimum wage.

Missouri's current minimum wage is $7.25, the same as the federal rate.

Supporters of the bill say it would be detrimental for small businesses to keep employees on the payroll if minimum wages surpass the federal government rate.

"The concern is having two accelerators for the minimum wage rate is going to make it much more difficult for employers to be able to hire people and keep them," Rep. Jerry Nolte, R-Gladstone, said.

Opponents say the law should be left alone because voters spoke in 2006 when the law passed by more than 76 percent. They also argue workers wouldn't be able to survive on wages if they aren't adjusted.

"I think we all need to be provided with a living wage. And instead of, as they said in there, instead of talking about the surrounding states and what they do, we need to take the leadership role and show them we can pay more and make this a viable state where people want to live," said Victor Imgarten, a small business owner in St. Charles.

The Missouri minimum wage isn't expected to exceed the federal wage until 2015. The committee will now decide whether to send the bill to the Senate for a vote.