Possible Increase in MO Minimum Wage
Hardee's manager Jason Shahangian knows the power of good pay.
"Most of them are at least 50 cents over. If not, more than that," he said. "You've got to give them a little incentive and bump up the minimum wage because a lot of people don't want to work for minimum wage anymore."
Now, Missouri officials want to make wage increases the law.
"For a fair day's work, working people in the state of Missouri deserve a fair day's pay," said Rep. Jeff Harris of Columbia.
On Wednesday, 40 House Democrats proposed a bill to raise the $5.15 federal minimum wage in three steps. If lawmakers approve, the minimum wage would increase to $5.75 this August, then to $6.50 in 2007.
In 2008, the minimum wage would adjust automatically according to inflation. The bill's supporters said Missouri won't lose any jobs to states with lower wages.
"Missouri has to take into account the needs of its citizens," said Rep. John Bowman of Normandy. "And I truly believe that this is a tool of job creation that we can no longer afford to ignore."
Many managers say a higher minimum wage will help their businesses.
"Maybe it will give me a better clientele of employees and what not and, hopefully, help me out with my business," added Shahangian.
The proposed increase would be Missouri's first for the minimum wage since 1997. Another 17 states already have minimum wages higher than the federal requirement.