Minimum wage and what it means to you
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Minimum wage and what it means to you

Date: October 30, 2006
By: Fanna Haile-Selassie
State Capitol Bureau

Intro: There is a minimum wage raise proposal on the November ballot. Voters should know the facts of the divisive issue.  Fanna Haile-Selassie has more from the Capitol.

OutCue: SOC

Missouri is one of five states that will decide whether or not to raise minimum wage come November 7th.

Missouri residents will have the opportunity to vote on four amendments to the Missouri constitution and one proposal that could be made law.  It's called Proposition B.

The proposal's goal is to raise Missouri's minimum wage from $5.15 to $6.50 an hour.  Missouri's current wage is the same as the national federal rate.

Sam Bushman of Tuxedo's and Gifts says minimum wage isn't relevant these days. 

Actuality:  BUSHMAN2.WAV
Run Time: 00:13
Description: I pay more than minimum wage.  I don't know if you could find anyone now-a-days who would work for minimum wage.

These are the sentiments of a lot of small-town store owners in Jefferson city.

Then there are those like Mark Mercurio, treasurer of Saffee's, who is worried about business competition. 

Actuality:  MERCURI2.WAV
Run Time: 00:21
Description: In order to compete, you have to watch the cost of doing business.  If you raise minimum wage, you have to cute cost somewhere, either in number of employees or you go somewhere else.

Business competition is very relevant to proposition B because not only will the minimum wage be raised by a dollar and thirty-five cents, but will also increase every year according to the Consumer Price Index which estimates the cost of living. 

Gary Marble is the president of Associated industries, one the main companies that opposes Proposition B.  His arguments are against the non-stopping increase of the minimum wage.

Actuality:  MARBLE3.WAV
Run Time: 00:26
Description: Proposition B has an indexing clause that increases minimum wage every year without a stopping point.

Marble's principle advice for voters is to meticulously read the language of the proposition.

Actuality:  MARBLE2.WAV
Run Time: 00:19
Description: In the bill the amount that you pay workers changes for even domestic work. The only thing exempt from the bill is babysitting.

However the coalition, Give Missourians a Raise, that petitioned to put Proposition B on the ballot continue to stress the need for a higher minimum wage.  The spokesperson for the group, Sarah Howard, says it's high time to increase minimum wage.

Actuality:  HOWARD2.WAV
Run Time: 00:18
Description: Truth is that no one cans survive at $5.15 an hour. Costs of necessities have increase within the last 10 years and minimum wage hasn't.

The coalition is endorsed by several large groups like the Missouri division of the AARP, ACORN Democracy Campaign, and the AFL-CIO. 

Their proposal is almost identical to a bill state representative John Bowman, from the St. Louis area, pushed earlier last legislative session.

Actuality:  BOWMAN2.WAV
Run Time: 00:03
Description: It was pretty much partisanship that killed it.

Bowman says his gathered data proves that raising minimum wage helps in the long run.

Actuality:  BOWMAN3.WAV
Run Time: 00:08
Description: Studies have shown that this kind of minimum wage will increase job availability.

Whether a store owner or a minimum wage worker, raising minimum wage will be put to the voters to decide.  Mercurio is ready to vote.

Actuality:  MERCURI3.WAV
Run Time: 00:03
Description: The government should keep their nose out of it and let people run their own business.

From the state Capitol, I'm Fanna Haile-Selassie