Missouri to Lower St. Louis Minimum Wage in Effort to Protect Jobs, Income

By Gage Cohen | July 6, 2017 | 1:04pm EDT
The Gateway Arch in St. Louis

Gov. Eric Greitens of Missouri announced that he would allow a bill to pass that will lower the city of St. Louis’ minimum wage from $10 per hour to the state minimum of $7.70, arguing that minimum wage laws hurt the average worker.

“Our state needs more private sector paychecks and bigger private sector paychecks,” said the Republican governor in a statement. “Politicians in St. Louis passed a bill that fails on both counts: it will kill jobs, and despite what you hear from liberals, it will take money out of people's pockets.”

In May, the Missouri legislature passed a bill that would block cities and localities from setting their own minimum wage standards, creating a statewide wage floor. Gov. Greitens announced that he would neither sign nor veto the bill, allowing it to become law effective August 28.

“This isn’t an easy issue. Too many Missourians struggle to get by. They work hard. They want to get ahead. They need leaders who have their back — and I do,” stated the governor.

Missouri Republicans and Gov. Greitens argue that a raise in the minimum wage leads to decreased hours and higher unemployment, citing cities like Seattle.

“The St. Louis politicians who did this claim it will help people. It'll hurt them. This increase in the minimum wage might read pretty on paper, but it doesn't work in practice,” the governor argued:

“Government imposes an arbitrary wage, and small businesses either have to cut people’s hours or let them go.”

“They tried this in Seattle,” he continued. “The minimum wage went up, and the results are heartbreaking: the average worker in the city lost $125 a month. That's $1,500 a year because jobs were lost and hours were cut. Liberals say these laws help people. They don't. They hurt them.”

Gov. Greitens said that while he does not support increasing the minimum wage, he will not sign the bill because of the way “politicians handled” it. “Politicians in the legislature could've come up with a timely solution to this problem. Instead, they dragged their feet for months. Now, because of their failures, we have different wages across the state. It's created uncertainty for small businesses,” said the governor in a statement:

“I disapprove of the way politicians handled this. That's why I won't be signing my name to their bill.”

St. Louis Democrat Senator Jamilah Nasheed called the governor’s move “heartless” in an interview with St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Signing it would have shown the fact that he is heartless and that he really doesn’t care about the working poor,” said Nasheed. “So what he didn’t want to do is sign a bill to take money out of the pockets of those who already have an increase, but still do so.”

The minimum wage in St. Louis, which was schedule to increase to $11 per hour next year, will now be lowered to $7.70 next month.

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