Missouri Chamber of Commerce plans to challenge minimum wage increase

Posted November 29, 2012 at 1:22 pm

by Brendan Cullerton Missouri’s minimum wage will increase by 10 cents in 2013, but the state’s top business organization is fighting the change.

The hourly wage is slated to rise from $7.25 to $7.35 next year because of a 2006 ballot measure approved by voters that ties the minimum wage to cost of living.

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s spokeswoman, Karen Buschman, said the minimum wage should not be tied to an indicator that automatically increases.

Buschman said the high minimum wage will drive businesses — and the jobs they create — to Missouri’s neighboring states. Illinois is the only adjacent state with a minimum wage higher than $7.35 an hour.

“The last few years we have pursued legislation to try to disconnect the minimum wage from the mandates it is currently tied to,” Buschman said. “We have been unsuccessful, but it will likely be part of our legislative priorities for the upcoming year.”

Director of Missouri Jobs With Justice Lara Granich said the fear that businesses will suddenly flock to bordering states is unfounded.

“All the research shows that this does not bear out. That’s just a scare tactic in the public today to try to keep the minimum wage down,” Granich said.