In less than two months, Missouri voters will head to the polls to weigh in about whether the state should increase its minimum wage.
In May, Raise Up Missouri—the group advocating for a higher base wage rate—turned in more than 120,000 signatures to the Secretary of State’s office to put the ballot initiative (Proposition B) before voters, and the signatures were certified in early August.
The state’s minimum wage is currently $7.85 per hour, and if voters approve Proposition B, the rate would rise to $12 per hour over the next five years. NFIB/MO is opposed, and State Director Brad Jones talked to the Columbia Daily Tribune about the issue: “We have small business people who have a visceral reaction to people telling us what you can pay,” he said, adding that one of the challenges in forming a coalition in opposition to Proposition B is that NFIB’s membership—along with that of other business associations— is very diverse, with some people who care deeply about the minimum wage issue and some who won’t feel the effect of a wage hike.
As it stands now, the official ballot language reads as follows:
Do you want to amend Missouri law to:
- Increase the state minimum wage to $8.60 per hour with 85 cents per hour increase each year until 2023, when the state minimum wage would be $12.00 per hour;
- Exempt government employers from the above increase; and
- Increase the penalty for paying employees less than the minimum wage?
State and local governments estimate no direct costs or savings from the proposal, but operating costs could increase by an unknown annual amount that could be significant. State and local government tax revenue could change by an unknown annual amount ranging from a $2.9 million decrease to a $214 million increase depending on business decisions.
However, fair ballot language would specify:
A “yes” vote will amend Missouri statutes to increase the state minimum wage rate as follows:
- $8.60 per hour beginning January 1, 2019;
- $9.45 per hour beginning January 1, 2020;
- $10.30 per hour beginning January 1, 2021;
- $11.15 per hour beginning January 1, 2022; and
- $12.00 per hour beginning January 1, 2023.
The amendment will exempt government employers from the above increases, and will increase the penalty for paying employees less than the minimum wage.
A “no” vote will not amend Missouri law to make these changes to the state minimum wage law.