Republicans in Missouri are repealing a St. Louis minimum wage law and Governor Eric Greitens is going to let the bill go into effect without his signature.
The decision means that St. Louis’ $10-an-hour minimum wage will now go back down to $7.70 an hour and will take effect on Aug. 28.
St. Louis’ minimum wage was scheduled to rise to $11.00 in January due to the local ordinance passed, but state lawmakers are taking that away.
The move is causing uncertainty with local businesses who are unsure if workers pay should be cut. That’s going to be a difficult conversation to have when employees hear the news that they will now have to be working for less pay.
Wanda Roberts, a minimum wage worker in St. Louis, said the new $10 wage brought in an extra $400 a month and helped the local economy.
“If we’re making $10 an hour, we’re going to go right back out and spend that money,” Roberts said.
And now that it’s being reversed, she says she would “go back to struggling.”
“Trying to worry about how I’m going to pay my rent, how I’m going to pay my bills and how I’m going to have money left over to buy household supplies and food,” she added.
Governor Greitens said the increase in the minimum wage was “killing” jobs and that “despite what you hear from liberals, it will take money out of people’s pockets.”
The bill in the Missouri Legislature will basically prohibit cities from creating their own minimum wage alongside the state amount. Previously, the state lost a court battle with the City of St. Louis, which allowed the city to implement the new wage scale.
Meanwhile, states and cities across the country are taking steps to increase their minimum wage. California and New York will slowly implement a $15.00 an hour minimum wage by 2022, those bills were approved last year. 12 cities around the U.S. have also taken measures to get to $15.00 an hour, while the “Fight for $15” campaign is ongoing in several other states like Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington.
Greitens statement that the minimum wage increase was hurting jobs just doesn’t match up with extensive reports that have been done on the subject. In 2016, the National Employment Law Project found that since 1938, year-over-year employment has increased 68% after each wage hike. Even those industries most affected by the minimum wage also saw an increase in employment: 74% of the time in retail, and $82% in leisure and hospitality.