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Senate bill drives discussion on increasing minimum wage in Miss - KOAM TV 7

Senate bill drives discussion on increasing minimum wage in Missouri

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A bill that would raise minimum wage in Missouri to $10 an hour has cleared a Senate committee.
While the bill may not be heard on the floor, it has driven discussion on the potential impact it could have.
Minimum wage in Missouri is currently $7.50 an hour, which is 25 cents more than the federal amount.
SB531, heard in committee last week, aims to increase minimum wage by another $2.50.
Many would be happy to see an increase in their paycheck.
"I would have more money to be able to go have fun and go out and do something, and to pay my bills," said Gibson Phillips, employee at Hot Rodz Grill in Joplin.
Officials say that when wages increase, so can the cost of products.
"Whether it's at a grocery store or at a fast food restaurant, anytime you see a wage increase, you also always see the cost of goods increase also," said State Representative Charlie Davis, District 128.
According to Davis, those on a fixed income could see the most impact.
"Every time they go to a restaurant, the cost of their food is higher, yet they did not see any increase in their retirement benefits, so it's always the poor, the elderly, those on a fixed income that hurt the most," he said.
Small businesses are also a concern.
"I could see it affecting them a lot," Phillips said.  "It would hurt their pockets on paying their bills and more little businesses would shut down."
"If you start increasing it too much, then the employers are going to hire fewer people," Davis said.
As for larger businesses, Davis says more human employees could be replaced with automation.
"You go to one of our local box stores and they've got 10 self-checkout kiosks," he said.  "There's 10 employees that they don't have to hire anymore."
Davis hopes the right balance can be found where employees are paid as much as possible without having a negative impact on jobs or cost of products.
Supporters of the bill are responding to fast food and retail workers who have been demanding better pay over the past year.
Now that the bill has been heard in committee, it's up to the Senate Floor Leader and the consensus of other Senate members to determine whether the bill advances.
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