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Minimum wage hike takes effect this week

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New Year’s Day brings the second in a series of voter-approved minimum wage bumps to Missouri.

The state’s rate is scheduled to increase to $9.45 per hour on Jan. 1, up from its current rate of $8.60 per hour. Approved by 62% of Missouri voters in November 2018, Proposition B raises the minimum wage in increments of 85 cents per hour through 2023, when it hits $12. The first increase to $8.60 took effect at the start of 2019.

Missouri is among 14 states with minimum wage hikes that take effect this week, according to a news release from the Business for a Fair Minimum Wage advocacy group. Another seven states have cost-of-living adjustments that become active Jan. 1.

More than 100 Springfield business owners have signed on in support at Business for a Fair Minimum Wage’s website.

Among them is Laurie Knowlton, owner of Pickwick Underground Framing LLC and Zen 3 Spa and Bodyworks LLC in Springfield.

“Raising the minimum wage will increase employee morale, retention and productivity. And when the staff is more stable, it builds trust and helps businesses maintain a positive reputation,” Knowlton said in the release. “With a higher minimum wage, workers will earn more and spend more – creating more cash flow for local businesses and communities.”

The Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce is among groups that previously have opposed increases to the state’s minimum wage. Reached this morning, chamber spokesman Jeremy Elwood said the issue is not included on the organization’s state legislative agenda for 2020, as no advocacy work on the topic is expected in Jefferson City next year.

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