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New Year Brings Increase To Missouri Minimum Wage - KOAM TV 7

New Year Brings Increase To Missouri Minimum Wage

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Minimum wage workers in Missouri will have some extra pennies to count this year. 
Thanks to a 15 Cent increase in the state's minimum wage. 

Whether it's bagging groceries or flipping burgers. The New Year brings some change to minimum wage employees here in Missouri. Employees in the state must now earn at least $7.50 dollars per hour. That's a 15 Cent increase from last year.
 
"Every penny helps for someone on a tight budget"
 
Jasen Jones is the Executive Director of the Workforce Investment Board of Southwest Missouri. His job is to track the workforce in our area. And according to Jones, in Jasper County, over 4,000 individuals work in the food service industry alone. And he says the minimum wage increase comes because it is just more expensive to live in the state.

"I believe it's a very Missouri specific thing, tied to the cost of living, and other indicators here in Missouri," Jones said.
 
And though Jones says many employers here in Jasper County pay above the new minimum wage already, it could still see an effect small mom and pop businesses and rural areas.  

"That's just kind of the straw that breaks the camels back at some point, in terms of those employers who are maybe having to catch up some of their wages and so forth it is going to add to their burden," Jones said.
 
According to the Economic Policy Institute, this extra 15 Cents an hour averages out to $312 dollars per year, but how do four staters feel about the change?
 
"I think it's great, and I think it actually should be increased more," Missouri Resident Cheryl Patton said.

"A lot of people feel as though the government owes them something, get out there, work hard and people will give you a raise," said Missouri Resident Sam Davis.
 
"I think it's good, because it is adjusting with inflation, I think unfortunately it's just going to continue to drive inflation up," said Missouri Resident Dane Ogden.

The change, is a result of a state ballot initiative approved by a 3 to 1 margin by voters in 2006 that provides for annual rate adjustments to keep pace with the rising cost of living.  

Missouri is joined by 12 states who are also raising minimum wage rates: Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. 

For more information on the survey done by the Economic Policy Institute, click here.



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