Prop B would gradually raise minimum wage, benefiting workers, economy

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Proposition B, which Missouri voters will decide on Nov. 6, would gradually increase the standard state minimum wage from its current level of $7.85 an hour to $12 an hour over several years.

The measure was placed on the statewide ballot through an initiative petition organized and funded largely by a coalition of Labor and workers’ rights organizations working through a campaign committee called Raise Up Missouri.

Another group called Missouri Businesses for a Fair Minimum Wage also has endorsed Proposition B and touts the support of nearly 500 small business owners in the state.

WHAT IT WOULD DO

Under Proposition B, the minimum wage would be set at $8.60 an hour as of Jan. 1, 2019. It would then increase by 85 cents each year over the next four years. The minimum wage would rise to $9.45 an hour in 2020, $10.30 an hour in 2021 and $11.15 an hour in 2022 and top out at $12 an hour on Jan. 1, 2023.

Once the phase-in is complete, Missouri’s minimum wage would have increased a total of $4.15 an hour, a nearly 53 percent boost from its current level.

If the federal minimum wage is ever raised to a level higher than what Proposition B calls for, then Missouri employers would be obligated to pay the federal wage. However, that isn’t expected to be an issue in the near future. The federal minimum wage was last increased to $7.25 an hour in 2009 and federal leaders have shown little interest in raising it.

WHO WOULD BE AFFECTED

State agencies and local governments – counties, municipalities, school districts and other political subdivisions of the state – would be exempt from paying the wage increases mandated by Proposition B for private sector businesses.

Government employers would still be required to pay the existing state minimum wage of $7.85 an hour, which would remain subject to annual increases or decreases based on changes in the Consumer Price Index, as specified in current law. 

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