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Workers will see minimum wage increase in Missouri starting Jan. 1

Thursday, the minimum wage is increasing in 21 states including Missouri.

Starting Jan. 1, minimum wage in the state will be $7.65 an hour, which is 15 cents more than the current wage.

About 136,000 workers in Missouri will be affected by the minimum wage increase, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

Don Hart, the owner of a Columbia jewelry, arts and crafts store, said he thought the increase could be even more.

“I think that we could probably go up to as much as $9 or $10 an hour and still be able to handle our employees and keep things going,” Hart, the owner of Best of the West, said. “But when it becomes over $10 an hour then it becomes a burden on the small businessman.”

Workers that get tips are also going to see a pay raise in Missouri. Their base pay will increase by nine cents to $3.83 an hour.

Jasmyne Chambers, who works at Super Sami Beauty Supply, said every little bit helps. She said she thought the pay raise will encourage more people to look for work.

“I think it’ll probably give people more motivation to find jobs, if they’re unemployed it might be like oh well I can go find work and there’s a possibility that I might make more,” Chambers said.

Hart said as a small business owner, he has to pay out more employment taxes for workers with every minimum wage increase.

“The big corporations they don’t have to worry about it as much, but the little guys do,” Hart said. “And so I wish to pay my employees as much as I can, but I also have to keep my business going. So it does affect how many people I can hire if it starts getting in a larger amount.”

Shaun Dierker, the manager of Pub Decor in the Columbia Mall, said even though the increase is nice, he does not think 15 cents an hour will make much difference in people’s daily lives.

“I know a lot of people that I’ve met through work who don’t, they work a minimum wage job and they’re not able to make their cost of living expenses,” Dierker said. “So even though I think this is a step in the right direction, I still think there’s more work that needs to be done.”

Missouri’s minimum wage is adjusted for the cost of living each year due to a law passed in 2006.

When the increase takes effect Thursday, 29 states will have a higher minimum wage than the federal wage, which is $7.25 an hour.

Last year, President Obama inctroduced the “Fair Minimum Wage Act” which would have increased federal minimum wage to $10 an hour. However, the debate was blocked in the senate.

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