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Supporters and Opponents of Minimum Wage Increase Debate Issue

Supporters and opponents of the minimum wage proposal that will be on the ballot this November are getting out their message. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.

Supporters and opponents of the minimum wage proposal that will be on the ballot this November are getting out their message.

The proposal would change Missouri law by setting the state's minimum wage at 6 dollars and 50 cents an hour, an increase of one dollar and 35 cents.

Opponents say the increase will hurt the economy, making it difficult for some companies to stay in business.

Supporters say the increase will provide low income families with a much-needed raise.

Jared Bernstein is the director of the Living Standards Program at the Washington-based Economic Policy Institute, which receives funds from private donors, foundations, government agencies and labor unions.

Bernstein says increasing the minimum wage will allow everyone to benefit from improvements in the economy.

But opponents of the minimum wage increase say it would cause problems for companies, especially small businesses.

Brad Jones is Missouri Director of the National Federation of Independent Business.

He says the impact of the increase goes far beyond workers who make minimum wage.

Opponents and supporters differ on the potential impact of the minimum wage increase on certain kinds of workers.

Each side has its own studies to demonstrate which groups of workers would benefit most.

But another point of contention is the economic indexing.

The ballot issue ties the minimum wage and future increases to the consumer price index.

Brad Jones says it's this aspect of the proposal that will cause the most economic problems.

But analysts with the Washington-based think tank Economic Policy Institute say it only makes sense to allow the minimum wage to increase as the cost of living goes up.

Jared Bernstein is a program director with the institute.

He says since Missouri's minimum wage is tied to the federal minimum wage, workers haven't seen an increase in more than nine years.

The proposed minimum wage increase will be on the ballot in Missouri November 7th.