In a move some describe as regressive, St. Louis will soon decrease its minimum wage—not increase it.
The new law set to be implemented on August 28 will disallow cities from setting a higher minimum wage than the state’s limit, forcing the city to drop the limit from $10 to $7.70.
This workaround was critical for many local legislators attempting to address problems locally, with St. Louis mayor Lyda Krewson (D) calling it a “setback for working families.”
“The state has preempted cities from enacting laws on many issues,” she added, “including guns, cold medicine and now our minimum wage.”
St. Louis is REDUCING its minimum wage for $10 to $7.70
This is what happens when we cannot unite towards goals.
— Michael A. Wood Jr. (@MichaelAWoodJr) July 6, 2017
Not all representatives agree with Krewson, however. Missouri Governor Eric Greitens is convinced minimum wage laws hurt workers.
“This increase in the minimum wage might read pretty on paper,” warned Greitens, “but it doesn’t work in practice. Government imposes an arbitrary wage, and small businesses either have to cut people’s hours or let them go.”
He added that such government-forced pay increases “kill jobs, and despite what you hear from liberals, it will take money out of people’s pockets.”
The governor cited a recent study from the University of Washington which concluded that the wage increase ultimately harms workers as a whole.
A Win For Workers: St. Louis’ Minimum Wage To Be Lowered https://t.co/6gQ0o3akMT
— Mark the Deplorable (@MarkRocon) July 6, 2017
The study, conducted in Seattle where the minimum wage will gradually be risen to $15 an hour, found that low-wage workers ended up making $125 less every month since their hours were cut.
Essentially, when businesses are legally mandated to raise their workers’ wages, they tend to cut hours and hire fewer workers to make up for increased costs.
Accusing politicians of dragging “their feet for months” on the bill, Greitens refused to sign it.
“I disapprove of the way politicians handled this. That’s why I won’t be signing my name to their bill.”
Other groups, however, are not convinced.
“Hurting people who have it the hardest isn’t just bad governing, it’s pathological,” said the group Fight for $15 of Governor Greitens.
Cynthia Sanders, a janitor writing for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, described the move as “unimaginably cruel.”
According to CNN, the following cites, counties, and states received a minimum wage increase:
Chicago: $11 an hour.
Cook County, Illinois: $10 an hour.
Emeryville, California: $15.20 an hour for businesses with more than 56 employees, and $14 an hour for businesses with 55 or fewer employees.
Flagstaff, Arizona: $10.50 an hour.
Los Angeles: $12 an hour for businesses with more than 26 employees, and $10.50 an hour for businesses with 25 or fewer employees.
Maryland: $9.25 an hour.
Milpitas, California: $11 an hour.
Montgomery County, Maryland: $11.50 an hour.
Oregon: $10.25 an hour. (Exception: $11.25 an hour in the Portland metro area, and $10 an hour in some counties designated as “non-urban.”)
Pasadena, California: $12 an hour for businesses with 26 or more employees, and $10.50 an hour or businesses with 25 or fewer employees.
San Francisco: $14 an hour.
San Jose, California: $12 an hour.
San Leandro, California: $12 an hour.
Santa Monica, California: $12 an hour for businesses with 26 or more employees, and $10.50 an hour or businesses with 25 or fewer employees.
Washington, D.C.: $12.50 an hour.