Mid-Missourians Sound Off on Raising the Minimum Wage

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COLUMBIA - Mid-Missourians gathered at the University of Missouri campus Wednesday evening to hear more about the fight to increase the minimum wage.

Rev. Martin Rafanan is the community director for St. Louis' "Can't Survive on $7.35." He spoke to residents about his stance on raising the minimum wage, "If you pay a person a dollar more, that's another $2,800 that gets spent in our community," Rafanan said. "It doesn't go into a C.E.O's pocket and then into an offshore account some place. It is actually spent in our economy and that moves our economy."

But some think raising the minimum wage would instead move people out of jobs. Christopher White is the state chair and blogger for the organization Young Americans for Liberty. White said he is not supportive of increasing the minimum wage, "Not only would a raise in the minimum wage create structural unemployment among young people and minority groups, but it would also force prices up on working Americans."

A Gallup poll released Monday said White is not alone. According to the poll, 22 percent of Americans would vote against raising the national minimum wage of $7.25 to $9 an hour. However, 76 percent of Americans would side with Rafanan and support an increase.

The minimum wage in Missouri will increase starting January 1, 2014. The Missouri Department of Labor announced Nov. 8 the minimum wage rate will increase to $7.50.