Minimum wage increase could affect local businesses

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COLUMBIA - As of January 1, 2019, Missourians can expect to see an increase in the minimum wage. The standard minimum wage for Missouri in 2018 was $7.85. In 2019 it increased 75 cents to $8.60. 

Sonni Singh, owner of the India House restaurant, felt the wage increase is a good thing.

"I'm pretty supportive of that. In general, if everyone is getting paid more, it definitely will help people to be able to pay for things easily."

Critics believe the wage increases will not be beneficial because the prices of other goods and services will also rise.

"I don't see how it could not have prices go up," Finanical Advisor Mike McCuistion said. "I think it's going to have an impact in a lot of different ways." 

Stefan Sheffield, store manager of "Slackers," disagreed.

"Essentially, the price of a Big Mac may go up 11 cents if the minimum wage goes up," he said. "11 cents is not very much, considering the benefits."

McCuistion said the minimum wage increase could also affect wages of other workers. 

"One of the things I have concerns about is the compression it's going to have on everybody whose making slightly more than what the new minimum wage is going up to," he said. "I think that that's going to be a challenge for employers to address."

After 2019, the minimum wage in Missouri will increase 85 cents each year until the minimum wage reaches $12 in 2023.

New minimum wage requirements have taken effect in 20 states, affecting millions of workers.