$15 Minimum Wage Up for Debate

Date: October 18, 2016 Last Edit: October 19, 2016

This severe wage hike could kill more than 200,000 jobs in the state.

$15 Minimum Wage Up for Debate

Earlier this month, arguments for
two minimum wage cases began in the Missouri Supreme Court. The cases concern
attempts to implement higher minimum wages in St. Louis and Kansas City,
despite state law that states localities may not enact higher base wage rates
than that of the federal or state government (House Bill 722).

 St. Louis’ minimum wage increase
measure passed after Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed HB 722, but the Legislature later
overturned the veto and a Missouri circuit judge struck down the increase. In
Kansas City, a petition initiative proposing to hike the city’s minimum wage to
$15 per hour by 2020 was struck down following HB 722’s veto override.

St. Louis Public Radio reported that a primary
argument in support of the minimum wage increase proposals is that HB 722—which
also contains a provision that prohibits cities and counties from banning or
taxing the use of plastic grocery bags—violates the Hammerschmidt rule from a
1994 Missouri Supreme Court ruling. This rule states that, per the state
constitution, legislation must be focused on one subject.

Meanwhile, regardless of the
court’s ruling, protestors in Missouri have been calling for legislators to
raise the state minimum wage to $15 per hour. The impact of such a policy would
have a severe economic effect. According to a Heritage Foundation report, raising the
minimum wage to $15 in Missouri would lead to the loss of 218,000 jobs by 2021.
The wage hike would impact 40.9 percent of wage and salary workers, leading
many employers to choose between layoffs, reducing hours, or closing the business.

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