St. Louis Post Dispatch: Measure to hike Missouri's minimum wage heralded by low-wage workers, worries some businesses

By Leah Thorsen
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Oct. 22, 2018

Missouri voters will decide in a couple weeks whether to boost the state’s minimum wage, a proposal that comes as several large retailers already are committing to pay employees more, but that advocates say is necessary to improve the lives of thousands of hourly workers who won’t see such raises. ...

If the minimum wage measure passes Nov. 6, Missouri estimates that state and local government tax revenue could increase as much as $214 million. ...

A business owner who supports the ballot initiative is Scott Sandler, owner of Pizza Head on South Grand Boulevard in St. Louis. He has nine employees. State law allows him to pay tipped employees just shy of $4 an hour — but he starts them at $9, he said, and they get raises when they stay on.

“It’s basically profit-sharing — that’s how I look at it,” said Sandler, who opened his restaurant about a year and half ago.

The law requires that tipped employees be paid half of the state minimum wage rate, with the employer paying the difference so the employee makes minimum wage. So if Proposition B passes, those workers would see a raise.

He starts other employees at $12, and pays one $16 an hour.

“The bottom line is that fair wages help the economy become more prosperous. By paying people a living wage, you’re going to have more economic sustainability,” Sandler said. “You’re going to have less turnover and basically a smoother operation overall. When more people have money in their pockets, they’re going to spend more.” ...

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Copyright 2018 St. Louis Post-Dispatch


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