Missouri's Minimum Wage Battle Rages On

Date: March 15, 2017

Despite state law preventing localities from setting their own minimum wages, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled that St. Louis could increase its minimum wage after all.

The original measure, now upheld by the Court, will raise the minimum wage to $10 per hour this year and again to $11 per hour in 2018. The St. Louis Business Journal reported that a schedule for how the wage increases would be implemented would be coming from Mayor Francis Slay’s office. The Business Journal also reported that Andy Karandzieff, owner of Crown Candy restaurant in north St. Louis, announced he may have to lay off staff and reduce operating hours because of the wage hike.

This news came just a month after the Missouri Supreme Court ruled that a Kansas City petition to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 per hour must be put on the ballot. That ruling didn’t address whether the measure would conflict with state law, however.

NFIB/MO was one of the business groups that fought the St. Louis mandate in court. State Director Brad Jones said in a statement: “We’re disappointed by the Supreme Court’s decision today. Our members still believe that the minimum wage should be consistent throughout the state and that allowing local governments to set their own higher wages will create unnecessary hardships for many small businesses. If you allow one city or county to mandate higher wages, you’re putting businesses there at a real competitive disadvantage when compared with businesses in nearby communities where the cost of doing business—and the cost of goods and services—is that much lower.”

Lawmakers are already taking action in response, however. Rep. Dan Shaul filed a measure, House Bill 1193, that states that municipalities cannot have a minimum wage higher than that of the state. HB 1193 is expected to move quickly through the Legislature.

 

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