Red State Business Owners Support Minimum Wage Ballot Initiatives in Advance of Nov. 6 Election

Business owners in Missouri and Arkansas, the two states with minimum wage initiatives on the ballot, are speaking out in support of raising the minimum wage

CONTACT:
 Erin Musgrave, (530) 864-7014, erin@emcstrategies.com
Bob Keener, (617) 610-6766, bob@businessforafairminimumwage.org

Nov. 5, 2018 —Business owners are speaking out in support of raising the minimum wage in two red states where minimum wage initiatives are on the ballot Tuesday. Business owners in Arkansas and Missouri—where about 700 business owners have signed a statement supporting the Show Me State’s Proposition B—are supporting the ballot initiatives because they believe it will be good for businesses and the economy in their states.

In Missouri, a coalition of about 700 businesses in Missouri Business for a Fair Minimum Wage continues to grow by the day. What’s more, hundreds of business owners across the state are proudly displaying their support by posting “This Business Supports Prop B” signs in their store windows. Prop B would gradually raise the minimum wage from $7.85 an hour to $8.60 next year, and then increase it gradually each year until it reaches $12 an hour in 2023.

In Arkansas, business owners are voicing their support for Issue 5, which would gradually raise Arkansas’ current minimum wage of $8.50 an hour to $9.25 on Jan. 1, 2019, $10 in 2020, and $11 in 2021.

Business owners supporting the initiatives agree that raising the minimum wage will help workers afford the basics, significantly boost consumer spending, lower employee turnover, reduce hiring and training costs, increase productivity, and improve customer satisfaction.

Numerous business owners supportive of raising the minimum wage are available for comment, including:

Bob Goodrich, President of Goodrich Quality Theaters including Capital 8 in Jefferson City and Forum 8 in Columbia, MO, said, “We couldn’t have built our business without great employees and generations of moviegoers coming through our doors. Missourians can’t make ends meet on the current minimum wage. Raising the minimum will be good for business and the economy.”

Howard Hanna, Owner of The Rieger in Kansas City, MO, said, “The minimum wage just hasn’t kept up with the cost of living, and paying higher wages has real bottom-line benefits. I’ve seen lower turnover and less kitchen waste, which saves us money, and better customer service that helps turn guests into regulars. Raising the minimum wage will raise everyone up and give the economy the jolt we need.”

Dewana Koehler, Owner of The Blackbird Bar & Grill in Aurora, MO, said, “It's sad that folks are working all across our state and struggling to survive. Raising the minimum wage is a no brainer if you ask me. All of my people make above the minimum wage and stick with us. If you take care of your people, they care what happens at your business.”

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, MO, 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.”

Capi Peck, Owner of Trio’s Restaurant in Little Rock, AR said, “I’ve seen firsthand how paying fair wages is good for business. It’s why I support raising Arkansas’ minimum wage. Our low turnover is invaluable from a bottom line and customer service perspective. Increasing the minimum wage will give needed raises to workers who will then have more to spend as customers.”

Meg Sebastian, CEO of Sebastian Tech Solutions in Jonesboro, AR, said, “As one of the few defense contractors here in Jonesboro, my goal is to bring jobs here by building a defense and technology sector in Jonesboro. If we want Arkansas to have more STEM jobs and encourage companies to invest and reinvest in our state for the long term, we need to have a strong, productive workforce – and raising the minimum wage is a key building block.”

Margot Dorfman, CEO of the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce, said, “Raising the minimum wage will be a win-win for businesses and workers. It will help small businesses by putting more money in the pockets of customers, which will boost spending up and down Main Street. And raising the minimum wage to a more realistic level helps level the playing field for businesses like my members who believe in treating their workers fairly and investing in the communities they are rooted in.”

Missouri and Arkansas business owners who are supportive of raising the minimum wage are available for comment and/or broadcast bookings leading up to and after Election Day.

To schedule an interview, contact Erin Musgrave at erin@emcstrategies.com or (530) 864-7014 or Bob Keener at bob@businessforafairminimumwage.org or (617) 610-6766.

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Business for a Fair Minimum Wage is a national network of business owners and executives and business organizations that believe a fair minimum wage makes good business sense.

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