St. Louis Post Dispatch: Bethany Budde-Cohen: Raising minimum wage helps businesses, communities thrive

By Bethany Budde-Cohen, Owner, SqWires Restaurant & Annex
Letter to the Editor, St. Louis Post Dispatch, Oct 16, 2018

The commentary “Minimum wage hike will lead to unintended consequences” (Oct. 8) by a fellow at the Show-Me Institute tries to mask hostility to a minimum wage law, which it calls “an artificially imposed floor price,” by claiming that raising the minimum wage to $12 by 2023 under Proposition B will cost jobs and “harm the very people” it’s “supposed to benefit.” As a business owner, I can tell you that’s not true.

Rigorous research of actual minimum wage increases shows they do not cause job loss. In reality, according to a commentary in The Washington Post, “job growth was slightly faster in states that raised their wage floors and unemployment fell a bit more” during 2013-2017. Missouri’s unemployment rate in August was 3.3 percent.

Proposition B will help about 677,000 Missouri workers, including more than 170,000 parents and nearly 100,000 seniors and near retirees. They are restaurant employees, health aides, child care workers, retail workers, security guards and more. The current minimum wage of $7.85 an hour — just $16,300 a year working full time — doesn’t cover the basics, much less being a repeat customer at businesses like mine. Full-time workers should not be struggling to cover rent and put food on the table. I want them to have enough money to take the family out to eat now and then.

I’ve seen firsthand how paying higher wages results in lower turnover, lower hiring and training costs, more productive and happy staff, and better customer service — which keeps people coming back again and again.

For our businesses and communities to thrive, people working full time have to earn wages they can live on. This is true in the Lafayette Square District, throughout St. Louis and across Missouri.

A yes vote on Proposition B will help Missouri families and businesses thrive.

Bethany Budde-Cohen  •  St. Louis

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Copyright 2018 Bethany Budde-Cohen


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