Jefferson City News Tribune: Bob Goodrich: Movie theater owner spotlights benefits of raising minimum wage

Op-Ed By Bob Goodrich
Jefferson City News Tribune, Oct 2, 2018. Also in the Fulton Sun.

Movie theaters have been our family business since my father opened a single-screen theater in 1930 with a showing of “All Quiet on the Western Front.” I bought my father’s theater in 1967, and expanded Goodrich Quality Theaters to five states, including Capital 8 in Jefferson City. We couldn’t have done it without great employees and generations of moviegoers coming through our doors.

A lot has changed and improved in the 50 years since I’ve owned the business – from the wide range of  movies we now show to the sound, seats, and picture size and quality. One thing that has not changed enough, though, is the Missouri minimum wage.

Missouri’s minimum wage of $7.85 an hour is too low for even full-time workers to afford the basics: food, rent and more. It hurts businesses and the economy when working people don’t have enough income to keep a roof overhead, put food on the table, and enjoy needed recreation like a movie every once in a while.

That’s why I support the effort to gradually increase Missouri’s minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2023 through Proposition B. I’m in welcome company with nearly 400 business owners in Jefferson City, Columbia and across the state who have already endorsed the Missouri Business for a Fair Minimum Wage statement supporting raising the minimum to $12 by 2023 as good for business.

Business people across Missouri understand that workers are also customers, and nothing sustains business like consumers with money to spend.

Low-wage workers are the ones most likely to turn around and spend their increased pay. Businesses benefit when workers have more to spend on basics like groceries, rent, repairs, transportation and clothes for growing kids – and the occasional meal out or ticket to the movies.

The minimum wage won’t increase to $12 all at once. It’s being phased in gradually over five years. Businesses will be able to plan ahead to adjust their wages while benefitting from increased consumer spending.

The increased revenues from rising consumer spending will go a long way in offsetting the higher hourly minimum wage. Businesses will also see other offsets, such as reduced employee turnover and increased employee morale and productivity.

Raising the hourly minimum to a reasonable base wage of $12 by 2023 will be good for business and good for communities across Missouri. It will strengthen Missouri’s economy. Now that’s something we can all applaud.

Bob Goodrich is the owner of Goodrich Quality Theaters, with locations in Columbia and Jefferson City, Missouri, as well as four other states, and is a member of Missouri Business for a Fair Minimum Wage.

Copyright 2018 Bob Goodrich

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