KTRS: St. Louis Business Owners Rally Behind Prop B

KTRS, St. Louis, Oct. 25, 2018

Nearly 200 St. Louis business owners are calling for voters to approve Proposition B, the ballot initiative to raise Missouri’s minimum wage.

On Thursday morning, a group of business owners joined state and local lawmakers during a press conference at Bridge Bread in south St. Louis to show their support. Those business owner discussed the reason they believe raising the minimum wage will help the economy.

Lew Prince, business campaign manager for Missouri Business for a Fair Minimum Wage, said, “Businesses across St. Louis and Missouri are showing their support for Prop B because it’s great for business and the economy. Workers are also customers. Raising the minimum wage to $12 by 2023 will give more than 677,000 Missourians a raise – putting over $1 billion in spendable dollars into the hands of customers.”

Joe Edwards, Owner of Blueberry Hill restaurant and music club, the Moonrise Hotel, the Pageant and Delmar Hall concert nightclubs, Peacock Diner, Flamingo Bowl, and Pin-Up Bowl in St. Louis, said, “Paying fair wages is one of the smartest business moves I’ve ever made. We don’t have nearly the employee turnover of others in the restaurant and service industry. That translates to better customer service and saves us time and money in recruiting and training costs. Raising the purchasing power of low-wage workers by raising the minimum wage will spur a virtuous economic cycle that leads to local business growth and, ultimately, more and better jobs.”

Bethany Budde-Cohen, Owner of SqWires Restaurant & Annex in St. Louis, said, “I’ve seen first-hand the many positive impacts of paying higher wages, and it’s why I’m a strong supporter of raising Missouri’s minimum wage. If you’re paying reasonable wages for your staff at all levels, you can deliver not only a better first impression, but a great overall experience that keeps your customers coming back. For our businesses and communities to truly thrive, people have to earn wages they can live on.”

Dorothy Jones, Owner of Bespoke in St. Louis, said, “I know that many low-wage workers have great skills and still can’t make ends meet. If you can’t earn a living working, what does that say about the value of work? A fair minimum wage acts as a kind of guard rail for the economy. It makes sure that people are paid fairly – whoever they work for. And that in turn puts more money in the pockets of everyone’s customers.”

Luke Babich, Principal and Chief Strategy Officer of Clever Real Estate in St. Louis, said, “Any good business knows that one of the smartest investments you can make is investing in employees. As a real estate business, we know that the ‘cheapest’ way can be costly – whether using shoddy building materials or shortchanging employees. When businesses don’t pay enough to cover the basics, workers turn to taxpayer-financed public assistance. Instead of subsidizing companies that fail to pay a living wage, we can invest in Missouri and raise the minimum wage.”

State Representative Bruce Franks shared his personal experience of living on minimum wage.

“My mother, who is the greatest person to walk the face of the earth, there’s no debate, she raised my brother and I on a White Castle’s paycheck, making minimum wage and it was hard.” Franks said.

About 600 business owners across the state, including 170 city business owners have signed the Missouri Business Fair Minimum Wage statement.

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