Possible increase in minimum wage will affect Missouri jobs

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COLUMBIA - Missouri employees may be getting paid more, starting in November.

Proposition B, on the ballot this election season, will raise minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2023 if passed.

According to the State of Missouri Office of Secretary of State, the current minimum wage is $7.85 an hour, and will increase by about 85 cents every year if passed.

Raise Up Missouri is a coalition of advocates to raise the minimum wage gradually. 

Communications Director Tony Wyche said a full-time worker making minimum wage in Missouri earns $314 a week and roughly $16,000 a year.

"In no part of the state of Missouri is that enough to raise a family," said Wyche. "We know the costs have gone up of basics...but minimum wages haven't kept pace."

Raise Up Missouri said the increase in minimum wage will boost businesses because they will benefit from the income they are getting from people who have more earnings to spend in their community. 

"This is a win-win for everybody," said Wyche. "A value I hope every Missourian would share is that no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty and struggle just to take care of their family."

Wyche said he hopes no one would disagree with Raise Up Missouri's values, but there still are people who oppose.

President and CEO of Associated Industries in Missouri Ray McCarty says if employers have to pay entry level employees more per hour, it reduces the amount of payroll for other employees. 

"We think that entry level positions are very important. We don't look at minimum wage as a stopping point, but more as a starting point," said McCarty.

McCarty said an increase in minimum wage would reduce hours for employees and decrease job openings.

A business owner in Columbia said she would have to make some changes to her payroll if Proposition B passes.

"We're all here to make a dollar, so I don't want to short come my employees either," said Southern Rose owner Mackenzie Knierim.

Knierim said if there was a small business tax kickback that benefited small businesses, she would be more likely to vote yes for Proposition B.

One employee in Columbia said she has to work more hours at minimum wage to make enough money for her needs.

"It's always helpful, especially being in college, to have a higher paycheck because there's so many little funds everywhere that you have to take care of," said Tiger Spirit employee Maryn Burns.

This increase is exempt to government employers and the penalty for paying employees less than minimum wage will increase. State and local government tax revenue could change annual ranging from a $2.9 million decrease to a $214 million increase, depending on business decisions. 

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