Bill Would Raise Missouri Minimum Wage to $10

By Matt Lupoli |

Published 03/12 2014 07:53AM

Updated 03/12 2014 10:31PM

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - A committee of the Missouri Senate has voted to move up a bill that could raise the state's minimum wage to $10 an hour.

The bill (SB531) was voted out of the Senate Small Business, Insurance and Industry Committee Tuesday, meaning it can now be brought before the full Senate for debate.

The vote followed hearing testimony by small business owners, employees, social agencies and religious leaders.

"Citizens of Missouri deserve better," Sen. Jamilah Nasheed said.

Nasheed (D-St. Louis) sponsored the bill. It would raise the minimum wage, starting January 1, 2015,  to no less than $10 an our or to rates set under federal minimum wage laws.  Missouri's minimum wage is currently $7.50 an hour.

“Currently, an individual who works a full-time job at a minimum wage level, and who’s supporting a family of three, will fall below the federal poverty line,” Nasheed said during the hearing.

Opponents claim increasing the minimum wage would result in higher unemployment rates across the state, especially in teens seeking low-skill jobs.

Many Republicans in the state House and Senate have opposed the bill.

Missouri State University economics professor Dr. David Mitchell said the jump won't provide the financial lift some believe it would.

"We saw changes in Missouri from the last minimum wage hike," Mitchell said. "One of the thing I was telling people is, 'You're going to see slower growth in industries.' And that's exactly what happened."

Mitchell said consumers could notice a difference, if businesses pass on the extra expense.

"In essence what you'll see is inflation. You'll see hamburgers costing more," he said.
And as state lawmakers mull this pay bump, President Barack Obama is asking for tougher rules on overtime, which could earn salaried workers more pay.

CBS News reports the overhaul would apply to mostly workers classified as executive or managerial employees -- like shift supervisors at a fast food restaurants and store managers -- and could affect millions of people.

Mitchell said, however, that the change won't guarantee a gain for workers.

"I think the long term effects will be you would see firms just going out and hiring two part-time workers. There's nothing that says a manager has to work full-time," Mitchell said.

Obama is set to ask the Labor Department to make these changes Thursday.

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