Voters raise the minimum wages of Mo., Ark

Fast food workers took to the streets in 2013 part of St. Louis' long slot toward finally getting a minimum wage increase.- JON GITCHOFF

Fast food workers took to the streets in 2013 part of St. Louis' long slot toward finally getting a minimum wage increase.- JON GITCHOFF

The minimum wage will now rise from $7.85 to $8.60 an hour starting January 1, and will go up 85 cents a year until 2023, when it hits $12 an hour, with cost-of-living increases kicking in annually after that.

She notes the votes in Missouri and Arkansas to raise the minimum wage were "overwhelming" and that voters in other states approved measures to make life better for workers.

Because the federal minimum wage doesn't appear likely to receive a boost under the Trump administration, state and municipal lawmakers are enacting local laws to push up the baseline pay rate. It landed on the ballot after progressive groups such as Raise Up Missouri collected more than 120,000 signatures in favor of the wage hike. The proposition also increases the penalty for employers caught paying less than the minimum wage.

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Supporters of a higher minimum wage, clean elections and medical marijuana are looking at the next steps to implement the ballot initiatives, while warning politicians not to try to undermine them. The bulk of those increases have come within the last four years, with 23 states pushing up their minimum wage laws since 2014. The minimum wage in both cities reverted back to $7.70 per hour-the Missouri state minimum wage at that time.

"I think it's pretty clear that it's pretty hard to live off minimum wage", said B2 Cafe employee Haley Ankely. Currently, 20 states are set to increase their minimum wage in 2019. Meanwhile, minimum wage employees in Massachusetts, Maine, and at large companies in California will be noticing the largest hike, with an increase of $1.00 an hour. The raise will lift wages for about 677,000 workers, according an analysis from the National Employment Law Project.

"There's been more demand, for employees that the market wages have been higher than the minimum wages for a while now", explained Bambinos and B2 Cafe Owner, Andy Faucett. The change listed for each state is the increase for the lowest paid group of non industry-specific workers, except tipped workers unless specified otherwise.

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