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Petition tries to get minimum wage change on Missouri ballot - KOAM TV 7

Petition tries to get minimum wage change on Missouri ballot

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Missouri voters may get the chance to raise the state's minimum wage.

The change in minimum wage is one of four measures that could go to a statewide vote  in November if petitions meet the muster.  Signatures have been submitted to the secretary of state's office and are being checked to ensure signatures are registered voters.

That's happening now at the Jasper County elections office.  Workers say they don't remember a petition that didn't make it on the ballot.

The minimum wage proposal would increase the pay rate from the national average, $7.25, to $8.25 an hour.  Nineteen states have higher minimum wage rates than Missouri.

Many we spoke with at the mall believe it should be increased, while small business operators at the Carthage Farmers Market say no.

Workforce Investment Board officials say while people want to make the most they can for a job they want to do, for businesses it's about the keeping costs of doing business down.

"It's a double-edge sword essentially in talking about raising the minimum wage," says WIB protect coordinator Leslie Abram.  "You've got the level you're at now and people are comfortable with that, however your job seekers want more and your employers don't necessarily want to pay more  obviously for the bottom line.  They know if they have to pay more in salary they may have to cut somewhere else."

Abram says businesses however can be hurt by too low a minimum wage because of high turnover, which leads to added costs in retraining  new employees.

Three other issues that could make the ballot via petition drives are capping payday loans at 36%, a measure to allow a municipal police force in  St. Louis and another to raise the cigarette tax to 90 cents per pack from the current 17 cents.

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