Mayor Slay Endorses New Proposal to Increase Minimum Wage

Raises the Wage in the City of St. Louis to $11 by 2020

July 9, 2015 | 2 min reading time
Photo by Title: In Support of an $11 minimum wage
After calling for a robust public discussion about how high the minimum wage should be and over what time that increase should happen, Mayor Francis Slay met with business owners, business association leaders, workers, and advocates for workers to establish a new proposal to raise the City’s minimum wage. Alderman Shane Cohn will present the revised bill for debate at tomorrow's meeting of the Board of Aldermen.   

"When I started this campaign, I promised that we would listen to all sides, we would do our homework, and we would come up with a proposal that was fair to workers without putting their jobs or our economy in jeopardy," Mayor Slay said. "We think this new proposal accomplishes that."

Under the new legislation, the minimum wage in the City would go up on the following schedule: 

$7.95 immediately upon the mayor's signature 
$8.25 on January 1, 2016 
$8.75 on January 1, 2017 
$9.25 on January 1, 2018 
$10 on January 1, 2019 
$11 on January 1, 2020

Economists do not agree on the impact the minimum wage has on the economy, with liberal economists saying it is good for the economy and conservative economists saying it is bad. Without clear direction from economists, the Mayor's Office met with all stakeholders and did its own homework, finding that a minimum wage increase starting at $8.25 an hour and ending at $11 an hour over five years would not have a negative impact on the City's economy nor cost large numbers of poor people their jobs.

The Mayor's Office estimated raising the minimum wage to $8.25 an hour would increase payroll costs citywide by less than $15 million out of a total payroll of $11 billion, which comes to roughly a .1% increase in payroll. The Mayor's Office also pointed to a study of 288 counties that had higher minimum wages than a neighboring county. None of them reported job losses.

"We want people to work hard and not be dependent on government assistance. So, we should reward hard work," Slay said. "It is ridiculous and it just isn't right that a parent working full time for the minimum wage has to raise his or her children in poverty. Ideally, the federal government and state government would have addressed this issue by now. But, they haven't. So, we're forced to do so. I do hope that business leaders who were legitimately concerned about us doing this by ourselves will strongly support a statewide increase in the minimum wage. I know I will be."

Alderman Shane Cohn is the sponsor of the minimum wage bill. He will ask his colleagues to vote the bill out of committee and debate it on the floor on Friday, July 10, 2015.

"The proposal I'll introduce to the Board of Aldermen tomorrow is based upon dozens of meetings with business owners and the people I represent as well as the public hearings we held," Alderman Cohn said. "We recognize an increase in the minimum wage as a way to build an economy that works for everyone."

"This bill should get a full hearing," Slay said. "In an ideal world, we would have more time. But, the Missouri General Assembly set an August 28th deadline for us to get this done. If we want to help our fellow citizens, we have to abide by that."

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