St. Louis Public Radio: Missouri business owners still divided over minimum wage hike, which takes effect Jan. 1

By Shahla Farzan
St. Louis Public Radio, Dec 30, 2018

The new year means an increase to Missouri's minimum wage ... Starting Jan. 1, the minimum wage will increase from $7.85 an hour to $8.60. The raise comes after voters approved Proposition B in November, which calls for boosting the state’s minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2023. ...

St. Louis business owner Joe Edwards, who supports the higher wage, said it’s important to him to treat workers with “respect and consideration.”

“A person can’t survive on $7.85 an hour, even if they work two and sometimes two and a half jobs,” Edwards said. “We need to give everyone the chance, if they’re willing to work hard, to live the American dream and support their family.”

Edwards owns a number of St. Louis businesses, including Blueberry Hill, the Pageant and the Tivoli Theatre, and estimates he has about 500 employees.

For now, he said, the higher wage won’t affect him, because he already pays his workers at least $10 an hour.

Edwards will have to boost employee pay to meet the $12 minimum in a few years, but he said he’s not concerned. Instead, he believes the higher wages will stimulate the local economy.

“The wonderful thing about paying people a fair wage is that they will spend it and they’ll spend it locally,” he explained. “And that’s critical for St. Louis.” ...

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Copyright 2018 St. Louis Public Radio

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